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Singapore weekly day-off campaign includes PH domestic helpers

THE WEBSITE www.igiveadayoff.org says: “With the majority of domestic workers being far away from their families in the Philippines, Indonesia and Burma (Myanmar), working endlessly with no breaks for personal time or rest often leads to homesickness and mental health problems such as depression.”

THE WEBSITE www.igiveadayoff.org says: “With the majority of domestic workers being far away from their families in the Philippines, Indonesia and Burma (Myanmar), working endlessly with no breaks for personal time or rest often leads to homesickness and mental health problems such as depression.”

According to Singapore’s Transient Workers Count Too (TWC2) fact sheet, “There were 201,000 female domestic workers in Singapore on Work Permits (end of 2010), as reported by the Ministry of Manpower. That made it about one for every five households in the country …. The majority, by far, are from Indonesia and the Philippines; smaller numbers come from Sri Lanka, Burma (Myanmar), India, Thailand and Bangladesh.”

TWC2 partnered with Ogilvy & Mather to come up with a controversial video campaign called “Mums and Maids” that portrayed mothers and domestic helpers answering the same questions about the child in the family. In the end, the maids were able to give more correct answers. The video has caused an uproar in social media that appears to be the intended result of the campaign.

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In a press release dated April 23, TWC2 admitted that it is a “provocative video that will arouse debate.” The group also presented data on migrant workers. “We in TWC2 and other migrant-worker rights organizations have been engaged in such a campaign for more than 10 years. The latest figures from the Humanitarian Organization for Migration Economics (HOME) estimate that approximately 40 percent of Singapore’s 222,500 domestic workers do not have a weekly day off, despite a law coming into effect in January 2013 making it mandatory.”

The short video, that can be viewed online, delivered what appeared to be candid responses from mothers and helpers. The story line is simple, reminiscent of a slide presentation. It said “74 percent of ‘maids’ had more correct answers than the mothers” then proceeds to “Shouldn’t we spend more time with our children?” and finally ends with “Let’s give domestic workers their legal days off.”

Some mothers were angered by the insinuation that they weren’t doing enough for their children. There were also others who questioned why fathers were not included in the picture. Some comments also revolved around the execution of the whole campaign message.

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TAGS: day-offworkers, domestic helper, Philippines, Singapore
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