SINGAPORE: Ahead of the 6th Foreign Domestic Worker Day in December, more is being done to boost the social welfare of maids. Awards will also be given to recognise workers and employers who have gone the extra mile.
Madam Terresa Tay’s maid Siti Musyafaah is one of the eight maids nominated by their employers for the Foreign Domestic Worker of the Year Awards. Mdm Tay was diagnosed with thyroid cancer a year ago, which left half her body numb. She also lost her voice.
Siti not only took care of her, she was also her pillar of support.
On Hari Raya Haji (Sep 24), Madam Tay was admitted to the hospital again, this time, for a possible stroke.
"When she saw me, she hugged me and said, ‘Ma'am I'm sorry that I'm not there for you when you needed me’,” said Mdm Tay. “And that was very touching because I told her, 'it's your holiday, please don't apologise'. But she did, and I'm very glad to have such a good maid. I felt that she deserves to have such an award, she really deserves it."
The awards are jointly organised by the Foreign Domestic Worker Association for Social Support and Training (FAST), and the Association of Employment Agencies (Singapore). They will be presented during the 6th Foreign Domestic Worker Day on Dec 6.
The day also coincides with FAST's 10th anniversary. FAST was set up in 2005, and has expanded its role from just providing skills training - like cooking, infant care, computer skills and English language courses - to providing social support to its members. So far, more than 66,000 maids have benefited from the training.
"The FDWs play a very important role in contributing to the economy of Singapore,” said Mr Seah Seng Choon, President of FAST. “They're actually taking care of our family members, our elderly, our children at home, so that the parents of the children can go out and work, and contribute to the economy."
Several employers will also be awarded for going the extra mile for their maids.
BOOSTING MAIDS’ SOCIAL WELL-BEING
FAST also has some new initiatives to boost maids' social well-being. It has a new culinary school, where maids and their employers can learn cooking skills, which are certified. The association is working with embassies to accredit such courses, so that when the helpers return home, their skills will be recognised.
The organisation will also launch mediation sessions next year to help settle disputes between maids and their employers.