Domestic workers can be seen everywhere in Singapore, on the streets, in shopping centres, and most importantly, inside our homes. But do we see them as the real women they are?
What if there was a book written by domestic workers on this very topic? Our Homes, Our Stories. Sketches by migrant domestic workers in Singapore is that very book – written by domestic workers in Singapore that volunteer with HOME on their day off, or have resided in the HOME shelter. The book will be published in March 2018, on International Women’s Day. HOME has a favour to ask though – in order to bring the book to print, funds are needed. Please help give these women a voice and support the project by donating generously, or by pre-ordering your copy here.
We all want to be a good employer, so we make an effort to get to know the women who help us and look after our kids – maybe we even (wrongly) treat them as part of the family (find out why you shouldn’t here). After all, we wouldn’t want a stranger to look after our children.
You will likely know whether your helper came to work here to support her young children, or to pay for the hospital bill for her elderly father, or perhaps to put her siblings through university. But did she tell you about how she cried herself to sleep the first year she was here? Did she share what she encountered with the employers before you, that perhaps made less of an effort to make her feel at home? Do you wonder sometimes what motivates her, or what her dreams are? Not everyone will have such an intimate bond with their helper, nor do you need to in order to have a good working relationship. She might not even be comfortable showing you, her employer, this vulnerable side.
For those who want to learn more about domestic workers, their lives in their home countries, the real reasons they leave their families behind to work overseas, and the different things they encounter when they come to Singapore, HOME proudly presents their new book: Our Homes, Our Stories. Sketches by migrant domestic workers in Singapore.
Rogue agents, abusive employers, false accusations, and impossibly hard work, some of the stories presented are gut-wrenching. Others tell us about good, supportive employers, that allow their helpers to develop themselves in their spare time, so they can go back home with more than just cash. The women share the beauty and difficulties of their lives in rural Indonesia, the Philippines, Myanmar and India, and the reasons they made the hard decision to come overseas. They share their dreams for the future as well as their past.
In order to bring the book to print, funds are needed, please support the project by donating generously, or by pre-ordering your copy here.
All images courtesy of the author