Domestic helpers are an indispensable part of households and communities worldwide. They provide essential services that keep households running smoothly, often with little recognition for their efforts. In many cases, they migrate from their home countries with the hope of providing a better life for themselves and their families back home. Unfortunately, they often face discrimination, abuse, and exploitation, which leaves them vulnerable and powerless. It is our responsibility as employers, fellow workers, and citizens to provide a safe and supportive environment for domestic helper and treat them as fellow human beings. This article discusses ways in which we can empower domestic helpers, navigate the roles with respect and dignity, and create positive change in our communities.
Recognize the value of domestic helpers
Domestic helpers play an essential role in households, taking up responsibilities such as cooking, cleaning, and childcare. They often work long hours, yet their contributions often go unrecognized. As employers, it is essential to recognize the value of domestic helpers and acknowledge their contributions to household and community activities. Showing appreciation towards domestic helpers helps build trust, respect, and a more harmonious environment.
Provide decent work conditions
Domestic helpers often work in challenging conditions, such as daily long working hours, no days off, and lack of appropriate rest. In some cases, domestic helpers face discrimination, abuse, and exploitation from their employers. Employers and local government should ensure domestic helpers’ working conditions meet the minimum standards set out in the International Labour Organization (ILO) conventions. Respect their rights to rest, work-life balance, and protection from any form of abuse, harassment, or violence.
Offer training and support
For domestic helpers, skill-building, and constant learning opportunities are vital in developing their abilities and exploring new career opportunities. Employers should provide domestic helpers with training opportunities, access to educational resources, and development programs. This support and training will build their confidence, improve their skills and knowledge within the industry, hence decreasing the vulnerability of the workforce.
Promote equality and respect for domestic helpers
Employers and individuals within the community should promote equality and respect for domestic helpers. It is vital to treat them as fellow human beings and avoid discriminatory or derogatory language and attitudes. Educate yourself and your fellow colleagues on the rights and responsibilities of domestic helpers, and encourage others to do the same.
Speak out against exploitation and abuse
We must speak out against exploitation and abuse of domestic helpers. Employers who witness or suspect any abuse should report it to the responsible authorities or relevant organizations within their community. Domestic helpers should also know their rights and speak up if they experience any form of abuse, harassment, or violence.
Empowering domestic helpers and navigating the roles with respect and dignity in our communities should be everyone’s responsibility. Employers and individuals within the community should recognize the value of domestic helpers, provide decent work conditions and offer training and support to help the workers develop their abilities and explore new career opportunities. We should promote equality and respect for domestic helpers, as this will build a more enabling environment. Finally, we must speak out against exploitation and abuse of domestic helpers within our communities. By doing so, we create a safer and more supportive environment that empowers domestic helpers and builds on their dignity and respect.