Grassroots Future is a registered charity in Hong Kong which came out of a desire to help refugee-led initiatives and grassroots organizations working with refugees build capacity.
Grassroots Future started out as Table of Two Cities (TOTC) in 2016, a grassroots storytelling initiative to showcase refugee narratives through the medium of food. We have held community events around Hong Kong, united by food, the greatest social equaliser. Through our interaction with the members, we recognize the immediate and practical needs of the refugee community that need to be met, but there is also a great yearning to live a self-sufficient, dignified and purposeful life.
We believe that:
- Everybody deserves to live with dignity and purpose.
- We can all contribute to a more sustainable world in different capacities.
- More thoughtful and interesting interactions between refugees and non-refugees can enhance mutual understanding and enrich our city.
- We can create a platform and support undiscovered talents to develop their skills to become self-reliant and create an inclusive environment where we can collectively innovate solutions for our society.
Grassroots Future represents the expansion of this original idea into a holistic organization. We believe in using collective action at the local level to effect change and engage refugee-led initiatives to drive forward and innovate solutions together.
Our Network Partners
What we do
Grassroots Future envisions to build capacity among refugee-led initiatives, focusing on community building through events and projects driven by members of the refugee community.
- Education: Supporting the needs of young people and adults through privately funded vocational training, mentorship, workshops and general skills training to improve capacity and self-sufficiency. Supporting the educational expenses of children through our initiatives and event programming.
- Community building:Community outreach and cultural events, which are curated by the refugee community, to engage different groups within society.
- Well-being:Provide safe spaces for healing and mental well-being through the arts and recreational activities.
Through Table of Two Cities, a food and culture initiative, we have been organising food and culture events since 2016. Through participating in our events, you can support the refugee community while learning something new.
- Crafts workshops
- Cooking demonstrations / workshops
- Food / culture sharing
- Concerts / Shows
About refugees and asylum seekers
There are 13,000-14,000 refugees and asylum seekers seeking protection in Hong Kong. Most of them come from countries in Africa, Middle East and South Asia, and some from Southeast Asia.
Many of them have waited for over 10 years to have their case heard. During this long, uncertain wait, they are not given a Hong Kong ID and thus the many benefits that come with it, nor are they allowed to work. They have little choice but to rely on support from charities and the government's symbolic HK$3,000 subsidy, which is inclusive of HK$200 for transportation, HK$1,200 in vouchers in a designated supermarket, and $1,500 paid directly to the landlord for rent.
Who are the people behind Grassroots Future?
Grassroots Future is composed of volunteers, grassroots organisers and community leaders that collaborate together. However, the cohesiveness of this collaboration was crafted and maintained by the founder of Grassroots Future, Tegan Smyth.
Tegan is a legally-trained Compliance professional with 8+ years of experience in private practice and global financial institutions in sanctions, AML/KYC, and project management. Her interest in refugee issues stems from her days training as a lawyer, which involved working for a community legal centre in Australia that focussed on providing civil law advice to refugees and new migrants.
As the Founder and CEO of Grassroots Future, she is involved in donation drives for refugee and asylum seeker communities, as well developing well-being, education and outreach initiatives to bridge gaps across communities.