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Improving the wellbeing of refugees through the development of generic green skills : a potential contribution to sustainable urban development in Hong Kong /

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Improving the wellbeing of refugees through the development of generic green skills : a potential contribution to sustainable urban development in Hong Kong /

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Student Theses
Publication Information:
Saral, Aysuhan Tuba
Hong Kong : The Education University of Hong Kong
Climate change and environmental challenges the world is facing now require all groups of people to make an effort to facilitate change. Many governments, including Hong Kong, adopted substantial initiatives and practices at the city level for greening, including investment in recycling infrastructure, greening the landscape, and monitoring energy consumption. Hong Kong, as a large metropolis, is confronted by challenges regarding sustainability like many other urban areas that have become a hub for people seeking better opportunities in terms of employment, education, housing, and health services. Refugees and asylum seekers are one of the demographics seeking protection, a sense of sustainability, and more humanitarian living conditions. However, local agendas do not consider refugees and their potential contributions to sustainable urban development (SUD). Hong Kong's approach to refugee policies has been criticized locally, as well as internationally, for being strict and limiting (Kennedy, Wong, & Ng, 2016; Vecchio, 2016). Local studies about refugees in Hong Kong mainly focus on three areas: refugee law, asylum policies, and lived experiences of refugees (Choy & Shi, 2021). Refugees' psychological and mental wellbeing was reported to be destitute (Wong et al., 2017) due to factors such as the long waiting periods for application processing (Lau & Gheorghiu, 2018). In addition, political and societal discourses discriminate against this group (Kennedy et al., 2019). Therefore, refugee studies related to Hong Kong have not focused on this group's capacity and skills development. However, some international research has highlighted the importance of skills development for improving refugees' wellbeing and their contribution to SUD. This gap in knowledge was one of the starting points for this study. Another element was the candidate's own personal experience in relation to her work with Syrian refugees in Turkiye (formerly known as Turkey) and Austria. The study focuses on the ways refugees and asylum seekers in Hong Kong can be empowered so they are able to contribute to Hong Kong's greening efforts. Based on Pavlova's (2016, 2018) argument that generic green skills are vital for the sustainability of greening agendas and the wellbeing of humankind, this study was developed based on an intervention with refugee women in Hong Kong to understand their perceptions of wellbeing, sustainability, and environmentally sensitive practices. The study applied a qualitative methodology that included a four-week intervention and interviews with participants, an NGO representative, and the founder of a social enterprise. The study found that at the personal level, building generic green skills can contribute to the wellbeing of refugees. At the community level, social enterprises can become a platform for refugees to utilize the skills they learned in a way that contributes to the city and society and help them gain their dignity. However, Hong Kong needs to develop a more inclusive and liberal strategy for adult refugees, especially in terms of access to education and employment, and change the current depoliticization of discourses about refugees at the societal level, to ensure all groups are able to contribute to the greening agenda
Call Number:
LG51.H43 Dr 2022eb Saralatj
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