$185,000 raised to help Singapore's domestic workers who are in need

SINGAPORE - More than $185,000 was raised from a charity golf and dinner event on Friday (Sept 15) to give humanitarian aid to domestic workers in need.

It was the first large-scale fundraising effort by the Centre for Domestic Employees (CDE) for its Domestic Employees Welfare Fund.

The centre aims to raise $200,000 for this fund by year's end.

The money will help both local and foreign domestic helpers, with such aid as ex-gratia payments, subsistence allowances or repatriation costs.

The CDE, an arm of the National Trades Union Congress, was set up in January last year to champion fair treatment of domestic workers. It provides, for example, mediation services and free legal clinics.

It will also administer the Domestic Employees Welfare Fund, which received Institution of a Public Character status in March this year and has a four-man Board of Trustees chaired by F&N chief executive Bennett Neo.

Said Mr Neo in a statement: "We hope the fund can be used to build a more comprehensive support system for this group of workers, particularly those who are foreigners, as they are relatively in need of more assistance."

CDE executive director Shamsul Kamar said another aim is to raise awareness about matters concerning domestic workers, "so that they can enjoy a healthier working relationship with their employers".

He added that by strengthening the employer-employee relationship, many conflicts can be tackled early and resolved amicably.

About150 people, including Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say, attended Friday's event at Raffles Country Club in Tuas.