The Foreign Domestic Workers (FDWs) in Singapore embroiled in disputes will be offered more support by the Centre for Domestic Employees (CDE) with a new shelter located in the Eastern part of Singapore. This new shelter is expected to be launched in Q2 2017.
Currently, the CDE set up by the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) provides shelter to about 50 distressed foreign domestic workers. However, with this new development plan the housing capabilities of the shelter will triple to 150. This shelter aims to provide targeted counselling and mediation services to the vulnerable group of workers, while offering them opportunities to learn new skills.
The Centre also plans to partner with organisations to conduct training programmes for FDWs at the shelter to help cater to the psychological and sociological needs of the workers while keeping them physically and mentally active.
This announcement of the new shelter was made in view of the International Migrants Day on December 18. Celebrating the occasion, the Migrants Workers’ Centre had organised a talent show at Ci Yuen Community Club in Hougang to showcase their talents. It has also collaborated with three local teleco companies, Singtel, StarHub and M1, on a 2G to 3G mobile phone conversion exercise.
In view of the impending shutdown of the 2G mobile network on April 1, 2017, the telcos are joining forces to provide attractive 3G mobile phone conversion packages to workers at the six migrant workers recreation centres, Channel News Asia reports.
Ms Sheena Kanwar, executive director of the Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics (Home), Singapore’s largest shelter for maids in distress housing about 70 workers told The Straits Times, “Once (workers) report abuse or exploitation, their safety might further get undermined and alternative emergency housing becomes essential. Holistic socio-legal support for the shelter residents is very important.”
DE executive director (strategy) Shamsul Kamar told reporters at an International Migrants Day celebration at Toa Payoh Town Park that, “What we’ve observed is that when the cases are resolved, there’s the likelihood that the domestic workers will go home. If we can add value at the shelter by giving them the skills and resolving some of their issues, then we can place these workers back at work.”
The CDE will be publishing a guide next month to bridge the gap between employers and their domestic helpers. The content will touch upon common misconceptions and basic cultural differences between both parties. It will be distributed at community events and be published online.
During a separate celebration of International Migrants Day, MWC chairman Yeo Guat Kwang told reporters that a second mobile office will be rolled out next year to reach out to more workers easily. The first mobile office was launched last year to be able to reach out to workers at smaller dormitories, congregation sites and workplaces.
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