Cooperate to help needy maids

We are happy to learn that the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) will be joining the fold as another pair of helping hands to support the cause of foreign domestic workers (FDWs) ("New centre for domestic workers to air grievances"; Tuesday).

With its vast resources, NTUC would be well placed to provide support for deserving FDWs who are in the doldrums financially.

Besides the Foreign Domestic Worker Association for Social Support and Training (Fast), there are many voluntary welfare organisations (VWOs) - such as the Archdiocesan Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, Transient Workers Count Too and the Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics - which have been supporting needy and distressed FDWs for a long time.

Fast has, since 2013, been operating a 24-hour helpline for FDWs.

Although more than 40 per cent of the calls received are about emotional and adjustment problems, there is still a segment of calls appealing for financial help.

This is where NTUC can come in strongly to assist, as Fast and its VWO partners are very much donor-dependent and are limited in terms of financial capacity.

Going forward, I invite NTUC to work closely with existing service providers to optimise the scarce resources in helping needy FDWs. 

Fast would be most happy to partner NTUC for this worthy cause.

At Fast, we shall continue to do what we deem best for FDWs. 

With the launch of our mediation service this year, coupled with our 24-hour helpline, Befrienders Service and pro-bono legal service, we will provide a one-stop integrated service to support FDWs in need, as well as their employers.

Seah Seng Choon


Foreign Domestic Worker Association for Social Support and Training

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 09, 2016, with the headline 'Cooperate to help needy maids'. Print Edition | Subscribe