Tag Archives: HOME Family

Kartini Day

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On Sunday May 8th this year, HOME held its annual Kartini Day celebration, combining Kartini Day, Labour Day and Mothers Day in one festive event at the Hollandse Club. If you were there, you must have marvelled at the women lounging around the hall, dressed in amazing batiks. All these women were Indonesian domestic workers, attending this holiday where Indonesia’s national hero and feminist Kartini is honoured.

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Raden Adjeng Kartini

All Indonesians know her: Raden Adjeng Kartini, or Lady Kartini. She was born in 1879 in Central Java. As her family was part of Javanese aristocracy, Kartini was lucky to be enrolled in a Dutch primary school, rare for a Javanese girl in those days. But at twelve, Kartini was secluded at home, deprived from further education in preparation of marriage. She started to correspond with Dutch friends, and became an important pioneer for women’s rights, particularly championing Indonesian girl’s education. Unfortunately Kartini died at a young age, in childbirth, but her spirit lives on: Kartini’s birthday is observed as a national holiday for all Indonesians, celebrating the life of this extraordinary woman as a mother to all.

 

What would Kartini have said if she lived today? Female emancipation has come a long way over the last hundred years, but Kartini’s work, unfortunately, is far from done. Migrant domestic workers still have fewer rights than other workers in Singapore, and are not covered by the employment act, which makes it difficult to protect them from abusive and exploitative employers. HOME fights for the justice as well as empowerment of these workers, it’s staff and volunteers, many of them domestic workers themselves, following in Kartini’s famous footsteps.

After that serious note, the speeches were over, and most of the day was one of celebration. There were musical performances, both contemporary and traditional, dance, singing, and to top it all; a fashion show giving us a modern take on Indonesian batik. The diversity showed us that batik, the traditional patterned Indonesian fabric, still has many uses today, from our very own Singapore girl, to elaborate ballroom dresses or much more practical daytime wear sarongs and kebaya’s. The women looked amazing, and the judges must have had a hard time choosing a winner from all the beauty paraded in front of them. In all categories, signing, dancing, creative writing and fashion, prizes were awarded to the most talented candidates. It was special to see these women, out of their standard uniform of shorts and T-shirt, showcasing that domestic workers have so much more to offer than plain cleaning, cooking and child-minding.

MyVoice congratulates all the winners on HOME Kartini Day

Fashion Show

  1. Dwi Hartati
  2. Yessy bt Sopandi Wanda
  3. Haney Palupi
  4. Tiwie

Dancing

  1. Mujiati
  2. Zarazarani
  3. Mariyati

Singing

  1. Ameliya Wati
  2. Faridah Nasri
  3. Mei Ismayani

Creative Writing & Poem

  1. Nur Fadilah
  2. Sri Winarsih

 

Photography by Dina Sartiman

HOME likes to thank the HOME Kartini committee for organising the event, and the Hollandse Club for offering the venue.

WALK WITH HOME

By Juliet Ugay

It was an energy filled day as HOME celebrated its 11th year anniversary with a walkathon held at Garden’s By The Bay on November 29, 2015. Nearly 400 participants comprising of HOME staff, board members, volunteers, and migrant workers attended the event. The “Walk with HOME” event is the organization’s way of symbolizing the journey taken by each migrant worker that chooses to come to Singapore in search of opportunities to provide for their families. Since 2004, Humanitarian Organization for Migration Economics (HOME) has provided assistance, advocacy and social integration services for migrant workers in Singapore. There are approximately 1.1 million migrant workers here. Every year, an estimated 3000 migrant workers received direct assistance from HOME. Their toll-free hotline, emergency shelters, vocational training, legal aid and health education are some of the important support services they are offering to migrant workers. However, HOME, a non-profit organization depends on donations from the public, as they do not receive any funding from the government to run its programs.

The ladies from the shelter rocked the stage with their opening dance number followed by an opening remark from HOME’s director, Jolovan Wham. The event was also graced by the presence of HOME’s founder Bridget Tan, who is now recovering from a stroke early last year. Natalia Goh, HOME’s President led the walkathon. It was a 3km fun walk. The excruciating heat didn’t stopped participants from enjoying the walk. Free lunches and drinks were served to the participants. There were also other activities to make the event more exciting and fun like the giant Jenga, giant snakes and ladders, photo booth, tug of war, balloon sculpting, spectrum art, ice cream and ice sticks booth, popcorn and candyfloss booths and a booth for JC Premier, who is one of the sponsors of the event. The afternoon activities include performances from different HOME groups. The event ended with happiness as HOME staff led by Jolovan Wham entertained the audience with their Hawaiian dance number. It was ended a fun day!

HOME Pageant winner discovers her talents

In June this year HOME hosted the HOME Talent Pageant 2014, a unique pageant, that focuses on skills rather than beauty, and that aims to show that domestic workers have many other talents aside from cleaning and cooking. Six months after the event, we wanted to see how joining this pageant has shaped the life of its contestants. We asked HOME Talent Pageant 2104 winner, Enok Sunani, to share her experiences on the HOME blog.

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My name is Enok Sunani, and I come from West Java, Indonesia. In September 2001, I landed at Changi airport to work in Singapore as a domestic helper.

Back in Indonesia I never had the chance to attend school for financial reasons, so I took the opportunity to upgrade myself while I was in Singapore. I completed a computer course with HOME, and started English classes as well as courses in entrepreneurship.

Sisi Sukiato, who works for HOME, was the first person to ask me to join the HOME Talent Pageant. At first, I said no to her. I was very shy, and did not have confidence in myself. I am very short (petit), and I have a rather dark skin complexion. But Sisi told me I should try and make my country and fellow foreign domestic workers proud. So I was the first to register.

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At the time I registered for the HOME TALENT PAGEANT, I had just completed my first course. I started volunteering for HOME, in the HOME MUSICAL group, and was keen to help out at the English classes as a teacher, or assistant teacher as soon as I had my certificate. Then, I got caught up in the excitement of the pageant.

Now the pageant is over, but for me, it is just the beginning. Last July, I performed on stage with HOME KARTINI MUSICAL at the Hari Raya Mega Bazaar to raise funds for the needy Singaporean. We were all very happy to do this, even though we were all busy and fasting at the time.

I am really glad I joined the HOME Talent Pageant. What I liked most about the pageant was getting the chance to meet people from different backgrounds and communities. And off course, the sessions where we learned how to walk on a catwalk were great. I had never worn high heels before!

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We got to work with exciting people like supermodel Hanis Hussey, and performer Pamela Wildheart. These ladies have become great inspirations for me, and I really appreciate all their hard work, and that of Cristina Santos who was always there for us during our practices. And off course, I should not forget the HOME Talent Pageant committee, who are the unsung heroes behind the successful pageant. The committee, all foreign domestic workers themselves, was so friendly, kind and supportive. I salute all the candidates and committees for being professional and hard working!

During the HOME Talent Pageant I have learned to work with different people in the group, and found that communication was really important as we were all from different communities. I never knew I could do all the things I did onstage, and getting to know what my talents are is just the best thing that ever happened to me. I have gained a lot of confidence, and have even started to wear high heels more often now. What made me even happier is that and I was able to teach other candidates, and that I could practice whilst sharing what I had learned.

To me winning means achieving what you set out to accomplish, either personally, or as a part of a team.

And, last but not least … I am looking forward to the next round: HOME Talent Pageant 2015

HOME Turns 10! Help us celebrate and become a sponsor

Help us celebrate and continue to serve the Migrant Workers of Singapore.

Since 2004 HOME (Humanitarian Organization for Migration Economics) has provided welfare assistance, advocacy, and social integration services for migrant workers in Singapore. There are more than 1 million migrant workers in Singapore. They do the jobs many of us don’t want to do, but there are very few places they can go for assistance when they are in need. Every year approximately 3000 migrant workers receive direct assistance from HOME via our toll-free helpline, emergency shelters, vocational training, legal aid, health services and education programs.

To celebrate HOME’s 10th Anniversary we are holding an end of year luncheon for the migrant workers we assist. We will invite around 500 migrant workers who will not have the opportunity to be with their families over the holiday period. The occasion will provide them with an opportunity to celebrate with friends.

To fund this event and to raise money to help us continue providing the vital services we deliver, we are asking for donors to sponsor a seat or a table for migrant workers at our luncheon. For just $100 you can sponsor a place at the luncheon for a migrant worker and contribute to HOME’s on-going work.

Sponsorship options include:

  1. Sponsor a Seat: $100 per seat
  2. Sponsor a Table: $1000 per table
  3. Silver sponsor: $2000 per table + Silver sponsor status *
  4. Gold sponsor: $3000 per table + Gold sponsor status*
  5. Diamond sponsor: $5000 per table + Diamond sponsor status*

(All sponsors are eligible for a tax deductible receipt.)

Sponsor here: https://homemigrants10.eventbrite.sg

For a HOME fact sheet, please see our event profile page: http://homemigrants.eventbrite.sg

For more information about our activities, please visit our website: www.home.org.sg

 

*Acknowledgement of sponsorship will be placed on HOME’s sponsor page on our website, with names of individual sponsors and company logos.

 

 

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)

Singapore’s got talent!

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The X factor. American Idol. Idols. Britain’s got talent. America’s got talent. Who does not know them? But Singapore’s got talent, who’s heard of that? The city-state is not known for it’s creative excellence. Does Singapore have talent?

This weekend, I had the honour of being a judge at the HOME Talent Pageant 2014. The pageant is open to a very special group of Singapore residents: Foreign domestic workers. These brave women leave their home’s behind to take care of other peoples homes overseas. They live in their employers houses, have long working hours, and often not even a weekly day off. No wonder HOME felt these amazing women deserved to be in the spotlights for once.

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UWC’s Dover campus hosted the semi finals, the talent part of the pageant hosted by the amazing Pamela Wildheart. With the other judges I sat, slightly nervous, in anticipation of the day’s events. We would have to judge the contestants women from mostly Indonesia, the Philippines and India on attributes including stage presence, uniqueness, skills and emotional impact.

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HOME’s talent pageant not about body shape, age, race, weight. It is about inner beauty. Grace and charisma. Focusing on skills rather than beauty, the pageant hopes to encourage domestic workers develop their talents, and pick up life skills whilst working in Singapore. HOME Talent Pageant 2014 was organised by HOME domestic worker volunteers, giving them the opportunity to showcase their talents off-stage as well as on.

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Embracing my inner Simon Cowell, I sat in eager anticipation of the contestant’s performances in the first category, singing. Just like on TV, not all the contestants managed to hit the right notes all the time, but dedication, beautiful costumes and poise more than made up for that. In the special acts category, we heard declamations about the strife of foreign domestic workers, percussion, even dressmaking and make-up skills were demonstrated on stage. Doling out points became harder with each new contestant. How do you compare a lady dramatically acting despair to one performing a traditional Indonesian chant, or one swirling a hula-hoop on her neck?

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The most popular category was dancing, and wow, these ladies can shake their hips! We saw Shakira, belly dancing, hip-hop, traditional Philippines sarong dances, classical Javanese dance, pop, zumba, tribal dances, and much, much more.

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During the counting of the votes, the audience was treated to performances from fellow judges Gerson Lapid Jr, and Robert ‘Obet’ Sunga. Young music student Neil Chan made the hearts of many contestants’ race, with young ladies swarming around him to get their pictures taken. In the meanwhile I, the writer with the singing capacities of a peanut, hid in a corner.

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Fifteen finalists were selected, each of them demonstrating that domestic workers are capable of more than cleaning washing, or taking care of the elderly. They are women of many talents.

I hope that the HOME Talent Pageant 2014 will teach Singaporeans how unique and special their foreign domestic workers are, and that these women deserve the right, opportunity and time off to further develop their skills and talents.

The HOME Talent Pageant 2014 final will take place on Sunday, the 29th of June 2014 from 1 to 5pm at the Catholic Junior College Performing Arts Theatre, 129 Whitley Road Singapore. Tickets are available at 20 dollars each.

Text by Karien van Ditzhuijzen

Photographs by Tessie Cera and Karien van Ditzhuijzen

Games, great food, and the hula

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Have you ever had the pleasure of seeing Jolovan, HOME’s executive director, dance the hula? I did, at HOME Family’s Labour Day picnic, and I can assure you; it was quite a sight. Amidst a dozen swaying domestic workers from our HOME Family, who elegantly mastered the curvy dance, he more than stood his ground.

The hula was not all to be done at HOME’s Labour Day celebrations at East Coast Park. There was plenty of good company and food, brought by everyone that attended, resulting in a diverse spread of delicacies from many different countries.

After food, drink and dance it was time for games. A group of students from St Joseph’s Institution entertained us with their student dorm games. First, we could see longer and longer strings of contestants waving around the park for the crazy tag game ‘bacteria.’ For my own children ‘musical statues’ was the highlight of the day, especially when my six-year-old son proved one of the winners, gobbling his prize of M&M’s proudly with his sisters. Then, people started to really lose themselves in a game of ‘grab the slipper,’ and I imagine the laughs and screams could be heard for quite some distance.

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HOME’s Labour Day picnic was held on Sunday 4th of May, 3 days after Labour Day itself. Unfortunately many domestic workers in Singapore are not given time off on National Holidays, so many of our HOME Family members had, in fact, to labour on Labour Day. HOME advocates that domestic workers should be covered by the Foreign Employment Act and be granted regular Sundays off as well as all National Holidays.

Karien van Ditzhuijzen was at HOME’s labour day celebration picnic. Photo’s by Dominica Fitri