Mujovic ’21 Earns 50,000 Euro Grant to Support Female Domestic Workers in Hong Kong
Jan. 31, 2020
BLOOMINGTON, Ill. — A grant proposal that Illinois Wesleyan University junior Adna
Mujovic ’21 wrote during her internship at the Mission For Migrant Workers (MFMW)
received funding for 50,000 euros to support female migrant domestic workers in Hong
The grant is funded by the Women's World Day of Prayer: German Committee, which provides
support around the world for women and girl's empowerment. The funds will support
Mission For Migrant Workers, a non-profit organization in Hong Kong that provides
services for over 300,000 migrant domestic workers in Hong Kong whose labor rights
are frequently violated.
Mujovic interned for MFMW last summer as part of the Freeman Asia Internship Program, which provides full funding for students to complete a summer-long internship in
an Asian country.
Interested in the role that NGOs play in correcting human injustices, Mujovic’s internship
exposed her to the injustices that migrant domestic workers face in Hong Kong. She
collaborated with migrant workers on a daily basis, helping them write letters to
the immigration or labor department and create case files to gain legal representation.
By working closely with clients, Mujvoic recognized the harsh conditions that many
migrant workers face.
“Migrant domestic workers are viewed as second-class citizens and, thus, their rights
are often violated, if not completely withheld from them,” Mujovic said. “Among the
conditions forced upon migrant domestic workers are, but are not limited to, emotional
abuse, lack of food, false accusations, and no freedom.”
Mujovic said that female migrant domestic workers are especially impacted by cases
of violence because many are required to live with their employers. In 2018, more
than 380,000 migrant domestic workers were serving Hong Kong households. Ninety-eight
percent of these workers were women from neighboring Asian countries such as the Philippines,
Indonesia and India, “making it a priority in the training to ensure proper handling
and a referral system,” she said.
Although MFMW provides services for these workers, its office is located in the central
district of Hong Kong, and its services often do not reach migrant domestic workers
who live and work in surrounding areas. This level of inaccessibility inspired Mujovic’s
internship supervisor Cynthia Tellez to seek funding for a new project in order to
systematize and regularize outreach to the different areas in Hong Kong where migrant
domestic workers have limited access to information, crisis assistance and capacity-building
The project, "Women Working for Women’s Welfare (4Ws): Migrant Caring Centres” will
train welfare officers and women in handling situations common to migrant domestic
workers. The officers will learn how to provide consultation to workers, answer questions
and conduct rescue operations through pop-up “Migrant Caring Centres.” These makeshift
centers will compensate for the inaccessibility of government offices in regions outside
of Hong Kong.
When Mujovic wasn’t writing case files, she was collaborating with Tellez to write
a 16-page grant proposal that would bring her vision to life.
“It was an honor to be trusted with the task of translating her visions onto paper,
simultaneously easing her burden of having to juggle writing this in her already busy
position,” Mujovic said.
But Mujovic admitted that this process wasn’t easy. Before her time in Hong Kong,
she had never written a grant proposal, “especially one of this caliber.”
“The application was as you would imagine—very many, meticulous questions,” she said.
Although the process was difficult and “terrifying” at first, Mujovic said it was
also memorable and inspiring.
“What was the most memorable was collaborating with Cynthia,” she said. “In those
conversations, I got to listen to her talk about her hopes and visions both for this
project and for the organization as a whole —nothing short of inspiring.”
The hopes and visions of this project became a reality in January 2020, when Mujovic,
who is now studying abroad in the Balkans, was informed that her grant proposal was
“I was simultaneously without words and wildly bouncing off the walls,” she said.
Mujovic said that she was shocked primarily because one of the largest obstacles facing
NGOs is funding.
“You can imagine that requesting 50,000 euros from them was a complete shot in the
dark,” she said.
With the 50,000 euros, Mujovic said that MFMW will now have the ability to reach even
more communities of migrant domestic workers all across Hong Kong.
“I am just so, so happy for them. They fully deserve it.”
As an undergraduate student, she also feels grateful that her work is making an impact
beyond her campus community.
“Knowing that my work was significant in this way makes me even more grateful for
the opportunity through Freeman Asia. It also made me reflect on all the important,
day-to-day, person-to-person assistance us interns offered, as well as the grunt work,
which we shouldn't take for granted either.”
Mujovic said she is thankful for the generosity and hard work of Professor of Sociology
Teddy Amoloza, the Illinois Wesleyan Fund for Human Rights, Environmental Sustainability,
and Social Justice, and the support of her parents.