Tag Archives: HOME Academy

A GOAL TO ACHIEVE

 by: Saturnina “Cute” De Los santos Rotelo (photo below: first row, third from left)

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All migrants haves a goal, a dream, or a plan before they leave their loved ones and their beloved country. It’s hard, it’s painful, tears flow from their eyes. They make promises in lieu of their presence, especially to their children. I have been away from home 21 years- almost half of my life I’ve been working in Singapore.

I continue to work for I have a mission. My promise to my beloved father has already been fulfilled, yet I still doubt about going home. I have devoted my time to HOME for 8 years now, and finally the answer has come to me. Filipinos are very family-oriented; closeness and kindness are always there. Love and respect, pride and beliefs are what often pushes Filipinas to migrate and sacrifice their life, love and loneliness, which money can’t replace.

The I.L.O. (International Labor Organization), in partnership with Atikha (a Pilipino organization providing economic and social services to overseas Filipinos and their families in the Philippines) did research to find out why many migrants return to their county a failure and not with innovation. I attended a thorough training by Athika on how to help the migrants, by helping them understand financial matters, and teach them how go back to their home country successfully.

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Devoting my Sundays off to training and educating other migrants makes me happy. My parents sent me to a private university, but I still ended up here in Singapore as a Domestic Worker. I have no regrets, but I did miss out on a lot of things in my life. I have learned a lot myself interacting with my students. Now the 3rd batch of students is almost done, memories linger on how very thankful he students are for receiving this course in Financial Literacy. Their testimonies, written or oral, make me cry as they always say that I changed their lives and have made them realize how important it is to understand how to spend your money between the needs and wants, and that savings are important in preparing for all the hazards of life. As the course continued they realized also that by keeping track of their expenses, they can understand why they have lots of debts. Many families of migrants depend on them fully, all money made abroad is sent back, and the migrants go home for good without any money. In our Financial Education course you learn that you have to to help educate your family, and set an honest example how to manage your hard to earned money.

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Every migrant has a goal, or shall I say a dream, to achieve. By planning finances carefully, together with your family, and using SMART ways, everything is achievable. Many migrants end up with a broken family because of the prolonged separation, so we are trying to slowly stop this practice. So I’m hoping that through this course migrants, especially women, will realize that leaving the country and living away from their husband and children is not the answer for all their dreams. Our journey continues, and I hope that I.L.O. will discover more to protect the worlds migrants, especially women.

Lemon Cheesecake a la Janeth

By Janeth A. Bullecer

Equipment needed;

8’’ round spring form tin, Greaseproof paper, Foil, Baking tray

Ingredients;

For the Crust;

  • 175-200 grams digestive biscuits
  • 80-100 grams softened butter
  • 1 Tablespoon caster sugar (optional)

For the Filling:

  • 750 grams cream cheese, softened
  • 3 large eggs, at room temp.
  • 1 can condensed milk
  • 1 ½ cups sour cream
  • 5 Tablespoons plain flour (only if needed, if batter is runny)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice

cheesecakeDirections:

  1. Preheat the oven to 150°C
  2. Line the round spring form tin with the greaseproof paper then grease with oil or shortening.
  3. To make the crust; In a food processor, place digestive biscuits and process till very fine, add softened butter and sugar, process till you get a soft dough.
  4. Spread the biscuit dough evenly into the bottom of the baking tin, then refrigerate while preparing the fillings.
  5. To make the filling: beat the cream cheese into a large bowl, with a handheld mixer or stand mixer until smooth
  6. Add the eggs 1 at a time, incorporate well
  7. Add the vanilla extract, milk, sour cream and lemon juice, and beat well until smooth and well combined.
  8. If batter is runny add the flour, 1 Tablespoon at a time until it becomes thicker but still pourable.
  9. Pour batter into the prepared chilled crust, spread evenly.
  10. Wrap the sides and bottom of the tin with foil making sure it is high enough to avoid getting the water in.
  11. In a deep baking tray, place the tin with the batter then pour water into the tray, fill up to half of the tin.
  12. Bake into the preheated oven for about 1 hour or so.
  13. Cheesecake is baked when the sides are firm and center is just wobbly
  14. When it’s baked, leave the cake in the oven for at least 45 minutes with the door ajar.
  15. Take it out then cool completely then refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.

 

Good things come to those who bake.

A super DW – By Juliet Ugay

advanced bakingWhile most Domestic Workers enjoy their Sundays off, Chef Janeth, or teacher Janeth as her students call her, is busy teaching baking to her fellow DW at HOME Academy.

janet with her advanced baking students

Janeth Abrias Bullecer, is 40 years old, and hails from Nueva Vizcaya in Northern Philippines. Janeth is one of the gems of HOME Academy. Her 23 years of working in Singapore gave her a lot of experience, and the courage to do something to help her fellow Domestic Workers. Her passion for baking landed her spot as one of the teachers of HOME Academy. Janeth started volunteering for HOME in 2012. She came to know about HOME when she read articles about the organization, its work and of course the founder, Bridget Tan. Bridget created a Facebook page called Gabriela, of which Janeth became a member. After Janeth met Bridget during a workshop, she started her journey with HOME.

At first, Janeth’s dream was to become a make up artist, so she took up Cosmetology classes at Bayanihan Center. When she started volunteering at the organization, she and her best friend Ningsih did fundraising by making cakes and cupcakes, which was what she enjoyed most. She fell in love with baking.

janet with her basic baking last batch

Janeth started basic baking classes with 14 students, then 30, to 40, and reached 50 plus on her 5th batch. She taught cake making, cake decorating, baking different types of bread, etc. She was overwhelmed by the student’s enthusiasm and that inspired her to improve her teaching. Her signature cheesecake was always a hit, and she baked for Bridget Tan and MP Halimah Yacob during an HOME event. Due to overwhelming response, she started an advanced baking class and has 10 enrolees so far. Two of her former students, Sarah and Rhoda are now teaching in HOME Academy 2 and 3.

janet with her basic baking class first batch

Janeth’s work for HOME made her well known for her creations, and due to the encouragement from HOME staff and friends, she was given an opportunity to study first module in baking under a scholarship program at the Baking Industry Training College (BITC). She is currently taking up the second module, which she is paying by herself and she is hoping to continue to gain a diploma. Her main inspirations are her family, especially her mother, who sacrificed a lot for her family. Janeth hopes to have her own bakery shop in the future.

janet with her employer and kids

At present, Janeth is taking care of two boys. She studies two nights weekly, teaches baking on the 2nd and 4th Sunday of every month and attends computer classes on the 1st and 3rd Sunday. It might be a tiring routine but she manages to pull it all off, thanks to her very supportive employer Ms Nadine Mains. Since Janeth started volunteering, she gained confidence and made lots of friends. She said that the best part of all is to be able to share her knowledge and skill. Seeing her students happy makes it all worth it. Indeed Janeth is one extraordinary Domestic Worker – a SUPER DW!

Check out the recipe for Janeth’s famous cheesecake here!

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HOME, an inspiration

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During our last HOME Academy graduation day one of HOME’s students, Indonesian Domestic Worker Maria Handayani, made a speech to all  graduates. During this speech she recited a poem. HOME likes to thank Maria for her wonderful words, which we like to share  with you all, hoping she will inspire many others like her. 

HOME, A Masterpiece of Inspirations

I remember the days, when I was not able,
To stand up.
I remember the days, when I was not able,
To speak up.
I remember the days, when I had nothing,
To offer.
I remember the days, when I could not make,
My own, decisions.

With your gentle care,
You lifted me up high.
With your gentle care,
You taught me, through learning.
With your gentle care,
You helped me, to be strong.

Now, I am able to to stand up,
Because of you.
I am able to speak up,
Because of you.
And, I, have something to share.

I can do, what I always wanted to do.
I can be, what I always wanted to be.
I can stand strong, and defend myself.
All this I can do, because of you.
And this is, what I share with you.
Because, this is, what I am, today.

I am beautiful.
I am strong.
I am smart.

I know, that, I am special.
I know, that, I am unique.
And I know, that, you, are special too.

I found, a masterpiece, in you.
You, inspire me, to be,  what I am today.
And I treasure you.
Dear HOME.
You are, a masterpiece of inspirations.

Writen by
Sri Handayani Sutarno.

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More information about HOME Academy and current courses on offer can be found on HOME website: http://www.home.org.sg/what-we-do/public-education/

Give a Good Gift this Christmas

Give a Good Gift this Christmas: Support a migrant worker!

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Christmas is coming and at this time of giving we ask you to consider those who work so hard during the year and are spending the festive season away from their families. Singapore depends on the migrant workers who come here to clean, build and maintain our country. Show your appreciation for them this festive season by giving a ‘Good Gift’ via HOME.

For a small amount you can make a crucial difference to the lives of migrant workers in Singapore. You can support domestic workers in our shelter, enable a domestic worker to participate in a vocational or educational course or make a general donation to the work of HOME.

Christmas Gift Options:

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HOME Shelter

– $50 will pay for a domestic worker to stay in our shelter for a week.
– $200 will pay for a domestic worker to stay in our shelter for a month.

Sponsor a domestic worker in HOME shelter here, and mention in the comment field how you would like your gift spend.

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HOME Academy – become a sponsor!

Support domestic workers who use their time off to attend vocational and educational courses at the HOME Academy.
– $20 buys an English course book for a student. These are urgently needed for next semester!
– $50 helps support a student attending a sewing or baking course
– $100 helps support students attending elderly care and beauty therapy courses.

Sponsor HOME Academy here, and mention in the comment field how you would like your donation spend.

Make a recurring Donation

HOME depends on the generous support of members of the public in order to carry out our work and provide support services for migrant workers. If you would like to make a longer-term contribution, please make a recurring donation  here .

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Thank you for your support! A little goes a long a way and the migrant workers of Singapore appreciate your kindness. Have a happy festive season and best wishes for 2015 from the team at HOME.

 

H.O.M.E Academy Graduation, July 2014

By Pablita Patricio The first semester of H.O.M.E Academy 2014 came to a close in July with graduation ceremonies for the 589 students who had completed courses in subjects ranging from English and IT to Baking, Sewing, Caregiving, Aromatherapy and Cosmetology. Guests at the graduation ceremonies were entertained by student performances and guests of honour included the new Philippine Ambassador to Singapore, Mr. Antonio A. Morales, and the Founder and CEO of H.O.M.E Sister Bridget Tan. The graduation of the H.O.M.E Academy 3 group was celebrated together with Indonesian National Day and Hari Raya. academy1 Whilst graduation marks the end of schooldays for the students, for many this is just the beginning. It is the start of their journey to fulfil their dreams as they continue to reach for more. Many go on to enroll in other courses and proudly use what they have learnt at their employers’ homes, proving that they use their day off wisely. Each of them hopes to be somebody when they go back home to their countries. academy2 Academy Update Semester 2 is now well underway with new English classes for women from Myanmar and Financial Planning classes for those wish to save more or are looking to open their own businesses when they return to their home countries. Registration for Semester 1 2015 will open in November with lots of new and exciting courses on offer. For more information contact Sisi on +65 6333 8356

Myanmar Expats extend Helping Hands to Domestic Workers

“I get about 10 messages a day, either on the phone or Facebook. Most of them come after 10pm when the ladies finish work” Kitty Aye Mar Mar explains. “Sometimes they just want advice on how things work in Singapore, but sometimes they need urgent help”. Continue reading Myanmar Expats extend Helping Hands to Domestic Workers

Law and You: Legal education starts at HOME

 By Sneha Gupta

In 2014, I was part of a team of dedicated NUS Law students who worked closely with HOME to develop a series of workshops aimed at educating foreign domestic workers about their rights under Singapore law. Focusing particularly on employment and criminal law, the workshops sparked a dialogue between the NUS team and the workers about the difference between law on the books, and law in practice.

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The aim of the workshops was to empower foreign domestic workers by improving their understanding of the Singapore legal framework. We wanted to give workers a platform to discuss issues that they confront in their work and lives order to help the workers feel more confident about their position in Singapore. One of the big challenges for us was to explain the relevant law in a manner that was both simple and engaging and to take into account the divide that sometimes arises between law in theory and law in practice in Singapore.

Over four sessions, we talked with a group of around 20 domestic workers from the Philippines and Indonesia about employment issues like contracts, illegal deployment, salary deductions, rest days, safety issues, transfer and repatriation. We also discussed criminal law and procedure with the guidance of Josephus Tan, Associate Director at Fortis Law. What was especially noteworthy was the fact that the information flowed both ways— we learned a lot from the workers and were impressed by their creative ways of resolving the issues that had arisen for them.

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The NUS team felt gratified with the positive feedback after the sessions and an email from one participant thanking us for our passionate involvement. This project widened our perception of FDWs and their problems. It entailed a steep learning curve, as we were involved in all stages of preparation and presentation of the course. We came to appreciate the close relationship between law and society and how a little knowledge conveyed over a few sessions can go a long distance in making workers feel more secure in their workplaces.

Moving forward, we have realised that there is a need to reach out to foreign domestic workers who cannot take a day off to attend these sessions, as well as those who speak other languages. We plan to create an online portal to allow workers to access the answers to commonly asked questions about their rights and responsibilities living and working in Singapore.

To support HOME and NUS’s project to expand the reach of the Law & You course, please get in touch or make a donation here (www.sggives.org/home), specifying “Law & You” in the comment field.

HOME would like to thank NUS Law students Sneha, Jude, Daniel, Zhi Ying, Amelia, Sanjana and Yi Zhen and Professors Jaclyn and Sheila for their commitment and contribution to the project.

The power of education

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HOME could not do the work it does without a large number of volunteers, many of whom are migrant workers in Singapore themselves. Volunteer Cute, who was a teacher in the Philippines before starting work as a domestic worker in Singapore, spends much of her Sunday off helping and training migrant workers less fortunate than herself. We asked Cute to share her inspiring story.

Migration is not as easy as some people think. Being away from your home and your loved ones is hard, and not even money can cure the loneliness many migrants endure. Every migrant worker has a special story. This is mine.

In the Philippines my teacher salary was not enough for my family of eight siblings to survive, and life got even worse after my father got sick. Most of my siblings were still studying, so I decided to find work in Singapore.

Being a domestic worker is a really tough job, and during my first few years I had no day off. I had to pay eight months of salary to my recruitment agency, work 18 to 20 hours a day, and did not have adequate food. My faith in God as well as my determination to let my siblings finish their degrees made me strong, sacrificing even my own love life. My father always told us that the only wealth that he could give us was our education, and that no one could ever take that away from us. I took that lesson to heart.

It’s been 21 years since I left my beloved country, the Philippines, and the house I call home, where my siblings live and my father passed away. I miss him dearly. I did not get to see his face one final time, because my employer told me it would not give him his life back if I went home.

Having a day off is important for migrant workers. We can rest, unwind with friends, or learn new skills that help us prepare for our reintegration in our home countries. I believe my own involvement in HOME was the will of God. My feet brought me to the 6th floor of Lucky Plaza, where I met Sister Bridget, the founder of HOME. She welcomed me heartily, and told me about the mission of HOME. HOME gave me the opportunity to attend trainings, and teach seminars myself where I can share what I have learned. I had some great experiences though HOME. I even escorted Sister Bridget to Geneva, Switzerland, to witness the adoption of the International Labor Organisation’s Convention concerning decent work for domestic workers, an achievement that I’m very proud of.

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My contribution to HOME has the full support of my American employers. I have led the HOME ROSES group for 6 years. The HOME ROSES team is a group of domestic workers that assists HOME with migrant health issues, and gives training and workshops on HIV/ AIDS. I have also contributed to HOME’s newsletter ‘My voice’.

When Sister Bridget opened the HOME Academy, a Sunday school for migrant workers, I was keen to get involved. This year, I attended a special training given by the Philippine organization ATIKA, where I was trained to teach other migrants about financial planning. Attending this class will prepare them for a successful reintegration in their home country, so that they will live happily ever after.

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HOME gives a shelter, a hope and a home to unfortunate migrants, whether it is a woman or a man, regardless of their job, religion and nationality. I pray that HOME will exist forever, and can continue to help us.

GOD BLESS HOME and all the volunteers who devote their precious time, their talents & kindness.

WE LOVE YOU ALL

Sincerely

S.S. Rotelo (better know as Cute)

A visit to HOME Academy

Academy1  Devi Malarvanan reports from her visit to HOME Academy. 

Peek into the International School Singapore (ISS) campus on a regular Sunday afternoon and you will be both surprised and impressed. Ladies boasting different nationalities and who, in Singapore, go by the blanket term ‘domestic workers’ fill the campus. Sporting the HOME Academy uniform, they eagerly await the commencement of classes for the day.

The HOME Academy programme, has benefitted over 5000 domestic workers since 2009 and has a wide range of courses – including English language, computer training, baking, cooking, cosmetology, aromatherapy and caregiving. Either experts and professionals teach these courses or ‘domestic workers’ with the relevant experience to teach their peers. A chat with Ms Jacyntha England, one of the pioneers of the project, reveals that the primary objective of the project is to offer relevant training to domestic workers looking to expand their skill set or learn something new. She explains that the programme aims to empower these ladies, help them invest in their future and be more than a ‘domestic worker,’.

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Through HOME Academy these ladies’ many talents are highlighted and celebrated. The Masterchef-esque cooking contests and forum theatre sessions held to conclude the term are proof of this. As the ladies proudly display and cheer the dishes they have whipped up, it is clear to see they are enjoying this opportunity and the chance to share their experiences. On a similar note, one of the ladies enrolled in the English class, Ms Yanti, takes the forum theatre session as an opportunity to share stories she has written based on her real life experiences. She says, “I want to share what I have experienced. Life is easier after I share experiences with people…life is lighter.” Another student in the class, Ms Brianna, reflects on the classes, “We speak and act and it is a lot of fun. So far it is helpful for my communication.”

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Both ladies then continue their conversation with friends in the classroom as they munch on doughnut treats brought in by a guest. With their gestures and words it is clear the group are thankful for the respite from their weekly duties and the chance to develop their skills. It is even more heart-warming that some of their employers encourage them to do so and sponsor them for these classes.

To find out more check out our website or email Sisi Sukiato, migrants.home@gmail.com