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The story of Aime: From being a refugee to receiving the HK Red Cross 2022 Humanity Awards

My name is Aime Girimana, I come from East Africa, married and father of 5 children.

I have a law background and have a strong passion to serve the refugee community and have been working with this community for more than 15 years. As the Community Outreach Officer at Justice Centre Hong Kong, I am leading and coordinating activities and programs offered to this group through Humanity Seekers which is the first Refugee-led initiative. Following what I have done for the community, I was one of the 2022 Hong Kong Humanity Awardees organized by Hong Kong Red Cross.

I arrived in HK in 2004, fleeing my country to looking for international protection.

When I arrived in HK, I found my sisters and Brothers refugees sleeping at Star Ferry, waking up early in morning to go for shower at Kowloon Park. Life of a refugee is hard, its harsh...and who better to understand that than a Refugee himself! I made a choice that would enrich the course of my life...

I decided to give my time and strength to this community. I started to collect all kind of donations through Christian Action, one of the NGOs supporting refugees; I cooked meals for them as well. All this because there was no assistance from HK Government at that time. I was lucky to be the first refugee who was granted permission to work in HK, thanks to the Human Rights Lawyer who walked me through this long journey. I was then assigned as Community Outreach Coordinator at Christian Action Centre For Refugees for 11 years. My main duties were outreaching schools, corporates, churches for a better understanding of the refugees and welfare. I joined Justice Centre Hong Kong in 2021 as a Community Outreach Officer from where I serve the refugee community till now. I love to serve a community that I know, to which I belong. It’s amazing seeing a smile at the face of a person who is morally in desperation. Most importantly, I wish everyone should experience the joy of giving, especially giving to people from whom you don’t expect anything in return.

Unfortunately, the general perception for refugees in HK public is that they are people who are abusing the welfare money! Thankfully, it is not everyone’s feeling. There are people as well as different organizations and churches who do understand that refugees leave their country and very often their families, risk their lives to get here which is a foreign land to them, not by choice but for safety. Over the years, I have seen loads of positive changes in this perception of the HK public at least. And I do hope things will continue to go in the right direction as the refugee issue is now turning to be a general concern for the whole world, with so many wars and calamities in different parts of the world.

My message to the readers of this article is simple: It’s sad to be watching people fleeing their countries days and nights, from all the corners of the world due to the current pollical instabilities worldwide. Unfortunately, the situation does seem to improve in the near future, no one can tell who are the next refugees that the world will be talking about, in other words, becoming a refugee may happen to anyone at any time. So, do good and think good as a Good deed is never wasted.

Additionally, the public can help to spread the word by using social media, donate your time to know more about them and support Justice Centre materially and financially especially its refugee-led initiative “Humanity Seekers”.


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