Ever since starting Teawala, I have hoped to use tea as a vehicle for change. This Christmas, I was able to begin that process in a small way. I partnered with local nonprofit, Harmony House - established in 1985 as the first shelter for abused women and their children in Hong Kong, with the mission of protecting and empowering victims of domestic violence - to spread a little bit of harmony through tea.
“Violence against women by an intimate partner is a major contributor of the ill-health of women…[it] has a far deeper impact than the immediate harm caused. It has devastating consequences for the women who experience it, and a traumatic effect on those who witness it, particularly children…Violence against women is a violation of basic human rights that must be eliminated through political will, and by legal and civil action in all sectors of society…”
- World Health Organization, 2005
About Domestic Violence
Domestic violence refers to a family member continuously and intentionally using violence or controlling behaviors towards another member. Abusive behaviors are common towards intimate partners, children and the elderly.
Formats of domestic violence include:
Neglect towards those who cannot look after themselves
Domestic violence usually has long-lasting impacts on victims, including:
Physical – wounds, disability, even death
Psychological – emotional instability, depression or PTSD, suicidal thoughts or behaviors
Victims have to face many challenges in their daily life, e.g. moving out, divorce, losing financial support, undergoing treatment due to being physically or psychologically hurt
Social – Withdrawal and isolation, due to lack of confidence and inability to tell friends or relatives about domestic violence experiences
In Hong Kong, there were 2,313 cases of physical abuse reported in 2019. Women accounted for 84.2% of the victims. Many go unreported.
Furthermore, with more people staying home because of Covid-19, cases of domestic violence have risen. According to a UN body, every three months of lockdown could result in 15 million more cases of domestic abuse globally than would normally be expected.
A Small Impact
Made possible by your generous support, I committed 10% of my December sales, equaling to US$425, to help fund mental wellness programs and support services for victims of abuse in 2021. Additionally, I donated around thirty packs of tea to the shelter for women and children to enjoy. I hope each sip can bring a sense of harmony and peace, even if small.
I pledge to grow this into an ongoing partnership program, and once in-person tastings are deemed safe again, provide pro-bono tea workshops for family members as a self-healing tool.
Thank you, Harmony House, for the tough and essential work you do, to make a difference in the lives of many everyday. Sending gratitude for your service to the community.
For more information about Harmony House or to donate directly, please see: https://www.harmonyhousehk.org/eng
Research study on domestic violence in ethnic minorities in Hong Kong: https://www.hkcs.org/sites/default/files/files/research-dv_emwomen_in_hk.pdf
2009 Women's Safety HK Report: https://www.women.gov.hk/download/library/report/Safety-Supp.pdf
The worsening impact of of Covid-19 on domestic violence in Hong Kong: https://news.rthk.hk/rthk/en/component/k2/1526544-20200516.htm
In what ways can we use tea to propel change? If you have any experience in this area or suggestions, please feel free to share below ♥