More than 10,000 foreign domestic workers learn new skills at Mujahidah Learning Centre

Foreign domestic workers who have undergone training at the Mujahidah Learning Centre on July 17, 2016.
Foreign domestic workers who have undergone training at the Mujahidah Learning Centre on July 17, 2016. ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM
Indonesian domestic worker Asih, who has picked up sewing skills through Mujahidah Learning Centre, at the Mujahidin Mosque on July 17, 2016.
Indonesian domestic worker Asih, who has picked up sewing skills through Mujahidah Learning Centre, at the Mujahidin Mosque on July 17, 2016. ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

SINGAPORE - More than 10,000 foreign maids have learnt English and other skills such as sewing, cooking and hairdressing at the Mujahidah Learning Centre.

Set up in 2005, the learning centre is an initiative by Mujahidin Mosque, and trains foreign domestic workers from countries such as Indonesia, Nepal and Sri Lanka. While the centre started in 2005 with just 35 students, it has now trained more than 10,000 foreign domestic workers.

On Sunday(July 17), the learning centre launched a commemorative magazine to showcase the centre's progress over the last 10 years. There was also a graduation ceremony for the centre's latest batch of students.

The advisor to the Mujahidah Learning Centre, Madam Sarimah Talip, said that some of the foreign domestic workers who attended the courses have since gone on to set up salons and spas in places they came from such as Bali and Batam in Indonesia.

"It makes me tear when I hear of such examples," said Madam Sarimah. "I think it's good for them to attend such courses because they are working here in Singapore and can contribute positively back to their society."

Ms Asih, who goes by one name, was one of those who graduated on Sunday.

The 34-year-old, who comes from Indonesia, learnt sewing at the start of the year and has made eight dresses to date. She attends the class every Sunday for two hours each time.

Her employer, Professor Jane Jacobs, who runs the urban studies program at Yale-NUS College, paid for her course and encouraged her to pick up new skills.

"Since young, I've always wanted to learn this but I didn't get the opportunity because I never had the money to do so," said Ms Asih.