It is hard to be a cleaner and it is even harder to be a cleaner employed by an NGO. 'My daily salary was about HK$96 for an eight-hour job 10 years ago,' said psychiatric patient Chan Chak-ki. 'Now, it is about HK$110 for a nine-hour job.' Mr Chan, 55, has been working as a cleaner since he was discharged from Kwai Chung Hospital in 1997. 'The contract terms are getting harsher because my employer has to please the client in order to win the contract,' he said. 'We cleaners are required to obtain approval before we can go to the toilet and are not allowed to buy things from nearby supermarkets.' Out of frustration, Mr Chan quit his job at a bus station last month. 'I really want to work. But I feel very unhappy about my work and it affects me emotionally.' His last cleaning job was offered by the Mental Health Association of Hong Kong's Lei Cheng Uk Sheltered Workshop, which won the bidding for a bus company job. He said he gets HK$3,200 on welfare, and if he finds a job, that money will be cut. 'Working more does not mean I will have more money.' Mr Chan said he disliked working at sheltered workshops, as the salary was only HK$14 a day. Another psychiatric patient, Mr Mok, agreed. 'I used to make about HK$20,000 before I was admitted to Kwai Chung Hospital for depression in 1999. It is really hard for me to accept the fact that I could only make HK$14 a day.' Mr Mok, 49, used to work at a bus company, but said his condition worsened when he had a job at sheltered workshops because of the working environments. 'I worked with those who are mentally retarded and many other kinds of patients at these workshops. I do not mean to look down on them, but I do not even know how to make friends with them.' Mr Mok said having a job was a vital part of the recovery process, but he had trouble getting one. 'I once worked at a company which hired a certain percentage of psychiatric patients, but healthy colleagues discriminated against us. It was a painful experience.' He said two friends wanted to commit suicide because they could not find work after their hospital discharges. 'Being able to live a normal life again is very important to us and our recovery. I really hope the government will help us find jobs.'