Jeffrey Andrews (2nd from right), a registered social worker who is committed to helping ethnic minorities in HK. Photo: Cathay Pacific

A Hong Kong-born Indian social worker who is committed to helping ethnic minorities said he is proud to be a Hongkonger, although he had encounter discrimination when he grew up in the city.

Due to the difference of skin color, Jeffrey Andrews said discrimination existed in the city when ethnic minorities boarded a bus, ordered food or took a taxi, news website reported.

Andrews said when he boarded a bus, other passengers would change seats. He added it was hard for him to hail a taxi, but easier for his local or foreign friends, due to his skin color.

Andrews said he was puzzled and once thought “who am I – an Indian or a Hongkonger?” In 2014, thanks to the Umbrella Movement in Hong Kong, Andrews felt proud and said: “I am a Hongkonger, Hong Kong is my city.”

To safeguard the future of Hong Kong, he took 50 ethnic minority friends and went to Admiralty where the movement took place to support the students in their fight for democracy.

He remembered people there cheered them and called them “Hongkongers.” At that time, he understood that his actions and said the discrimination and separation among local people and ethnic minorities groups had vanished.

He also recalled that during super-typhoon Manghkut, which caused devastation in Hong Kong last September, when local people resumed working, he saw there were still a lot of fallen trees, debris and rubbish scattered on the road and the sidewalks.

He realized minorities groups might help out to restore the city. Andrews immediately gathered more than 20 ethnic minorities, some of them asylum seekers, to help clean up the fallen trees in a park in Kowloon.

Their actions won a lot of local people’s hearts and photos of them were circulated widely on social media. A grandmother who passed by was surprised for their volunteer work. The woman immediately went to buy bread and drinks for them in appreciation of the group’s help.

Every Chinese New Year, Andrews organizes a “New Year Plan” – to send breakfast to street sleepers in Sham Shui Po, one of the poorest areas in the city. Andrews was awarded as Cathay ChangeMakers in recognition of his contribution to the Hong Kong community.

Read: Asylum seekers, ethnic groups help clean up after typhoon

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