Ford Foundation appointed Ai-Jen Poo to their Board of Trustees in May 2017. Ms. Poo is a well-known activist, living and working in New York. She is the voice for immigrant and low-wage workers, particularly women who are involved in domestic and care work.

Ai-Jen has worked hard for the honor of this appointment, forming the Domestic Workers United to promote fair treatment and pay for Filippino workers in New York State but the Filippino also need help in Asia.

Asian countries need an Ai-Jen Poo

According to statistics from the Philippines, an estimated 2.4 million workers labor outside of their homeland and remit an amount in excess of $3 billion a year.

Whilst many are based in Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and Singapore, a large number of them work in Hong Kong, where they have little in the way of assistance or protection.

A University of Hong Kong study, released in May 2017, revealed a number of unscrupulous practices, from an estimated 70% of Agencies overcharging the domestic workers to physical and mental abuse meted out by some employers. Hong Kong needs activists such as Ai-Jen Poo.

Domestic worker's 'The Helper' Documentary

With this in mind and in an attempt to highlight and address the plight of the domestic workers in Hong Kong, Joanna Bowers of Cheeky Monkey Productions has produced 'The Helper' documentary. The film is about these women and for the first time, gives them recognition and a voice in the society in which they labor.

Joanna and her team seek to remind people that domestic workers are people with dreams and plans. They may be paid workers, but they are not slaves.

Other initiatives in Hong Kong include the formation of a women's choir called 'The Unsung Heroes', by a teacher based in Hong Kong. This initiative has given domestic workers an outlet for their talents.

The choir is more than that though. In an interview with the South China Post, the founder, Jane Engelmann says the choir offers the women comradeship, understanding and a place to find and express joy, despite their distance from home.

The Ford Foundation, by inviting Ai-Jen Poo to work with them, has taken a giant step in acknowledging the needs and aspirations of low paid Asian labor in the United States. Let's hope Ai-Jen can ensure that the excellent work she has done in New York State can be replicated elsewhere. The world needs more people like Ai-Jen, Jane, and Joanna who each speak for the voiceless in their own way.