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CA Series of Blessing Stories: Life, Full Circle: a Refugee Story

For 2 years Farah has been a volunteer at the Centre for Refugees.

As we prepare for our move to Choi Wan, I've spent some time reflecting on the past 30 years with New Horizons Building as our home. I believe there is no better way to give thanks for our time here than to remind us all what God has done through our organisation. As many of you know, before it ever became our headquarters, New Horizons was a school for Vietnamese refugees in Kai Tak open camp.

This is a true story about a woman who walked these halls as a girl, and who faithfully found her way back to her roots and now lives to serve the community from which she came.

Farah (left) lived in Kai
Tak open camp until she was
10 years old

"Last year I attended a photo exhibition by Christian Action Centre for Refugees (CFR), and I was taken aback when I saw the historic photos. I discovered that Kai Tak camp, where I spent my childhood, was managed by Christian Action!" Farah Dang and her family are Vietnamese Chinese. Due to severe anti-Chinese sentiment in North Vietnam, her parents fled to Hong Kong in the 1970s and lived in Kai Tak Vietnamese Refugee Camp. Farah was born in 1981 and lived in the camp until she was 10 years old.

She helped her mother and brother run a food stall while also attending school in the New Horizons Building. "My family has eight members, and even though we were in a confined space, I still made lots of friends. I was happy, and that place was like home!" Eventually, the whole family was resettled in the United Kingdom, but Farah left Hong Kong feeling tearful because the camp had been her home and was filled with happy memories.

Her transition to life in the UK was surprisingly smooth. Although her life was going well, Farah had a chip on her shoulder about her identity as a refugee. "From the day I arrived in the UK, I never acknowledged that I was a refugee as I was worried that my friends and coworkers would discriminate against me." Identity is challenging for refugees. Farah eventually began to be more open about her past.

When Farah's husband had to relocate to Hong Kong for work, she decided to move back to her birthplace. Last year Farah visited New Horizons Building, a place that was a refuge and home for her when she needed it most. She had started searching for organisations that provide services to refugees, and became a volunteer at our Christian Action Centre for Refugees (CFR). She now makes lunch for refugees on weekends!

I was so encouraged and happy to hear that her education in the New Horizons School set her up for success in the UK and her life.

I think that God's handprint is all over this story. He led Farah into a safe refuge as a child, blessed her as she pursued a full life, and brought her back to serve in the place which had served her family so well. I pray that as we continue to serve vulnerable communities in our city, we would continue to see God's hand over us, and that we would trust him to carry us forward wherever he leads us to serve.

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