By Jho Ann Dhumlao
March 11th 2018 was marked on our calendar for some time. And now, our book is launched! The event last Sunday was indeed a big success. The book ‘Our Homes, Our Stories’ that contains personal stories by domestic workers who bravely share their true life with the public, is available in Singapore and beyond.
“Have you ever wondered what is life like to us Migrant Workers working abroad?”
Does anyone care about this subject? I hope so, I hope everyone will grab a copy of the book, from employers to migrant workers and government officials alike, especially those working for the Ministry of Manpower. Within every migrant domestic worker story in this book lies a significant lesson; the readers will be able to learn and understand what migrant domestic worker life is like. Their life abroad needs many elements: Motivation, Courage, Strength, Bravery, Perseverance and Faith with God. They need all of this to keep on facing life’s struggles while away from their families.
May employers realize that migrant domestic workers are just like their “hands and legs”, that without us most employers would be helpless. The relationship between an employer and a migrant domestic worker should be on a give-and-take basis. The migrant domestic worker needs the salary from the employer to support their family and the employer needs the migrant domestic worker’s service for their family. It seems simple but it is not. Sacrifices, abuse, lack of food, broken trust, salary deductions, salary not being paid, no medical attention or support and love from the family the migrant domestic worker is working with, the employer dictating how the migrant domestic worker spends her day off, all these are things migrant domestic workers are facing; these things are part of our stories.
Last Sunday on stage, you could see migrant domestic worker writers with faces beaming with joy and happiness after they just received their copy of their book. They come from the Philippines, Indonesia, Myanmar and India. Those brave migrant domestic workers shared their stories. Sponsors, HOME family, employers, and friends were there to witness the launching of the book. All the proceeds of the book will go to HOME, the home of the homeless, voice of the voiceless and Help to the helpless.
A humongous ‘Thank you’ to Karien who edited the book, and Pleun the project manager. Without them, this book would not have been possible, even if we have so many stories to tell. And it is with with pride and honor that I can say: I am one of those writers.