We are glad that the article, "NGOs: Need to protect Cambodian maids better" (Feb 1), highlighted the possible issues Cambodian foreign domestic workers (FDWs) will face in adapting to working conditions in Singapore.
Communication was listed as the top challenge, as the lingua franca of these women is not English, Mandarin or any of the major spoken languages here.
We agree that appropriate initiatives to address the issues are needed.
Ideally, the Cambodian government, together with the placement agencies in Cambodia, may want to organise some basic Mandarin or English language classes for the FDWs even before they leave the country.
To help first-time FDWs from Myanmar and Indonesia adjust to the challenges of working in Singapore, the Foreign Domestic Worker Association for Social Support & Training (Fast) piloted an Onboarding and Integration Programme (OIP) in October last year.
One of the OIP sessions is a basic conversational English lesson.
So far, more than 100 FDWs have attended the pilot run.
The feedback received revealed that most, if not all, of the participants found the sessions beneficial in providing them with the much-needed confidence to start their work life.
While tracking the efficacy of the programme, Fast found that 82 per cent of the first few batches of participants have settled confidently into their jobs after attending the OIP.
We encourage employment agencies and employers to enrol new FDWs for the OIP.
The next run of the programme will be on Feb 23 and 24, and all new FDWs are welcome to attend.
We shall extend the OIP to the Cambodian FDWsfrom next month.
All the programmes will be conducted at the Fast clubhouse at 2985, Jalan Bukit Merah. They can call 6509-1535 for registration and queries.
Seah Seng Choon
Foreign Domestic Worker Association for Social Support & Training