Lucky draw, games for 200 helpers at carnival to celebrate International Domestic Workers' Day

Foreign domestic workers having fun during a Zumba session on International Domestic Workers’ Day on June 19, 2022. ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG

SINGAPORE- The weekends would usually see Ms Luz Gabriel hanging out with friends at a park near the church they attend, but on Sunday (June 19), she visited a carnival instead.

On her day off, with friends in tow, the 50-year-old turned up for the event held at Bible House in Armenian Street.

There was a lucky draw, a Zumba session, a few game booths and a photo-taking corner, where some among the 200 domestic helpers who turned up to celebrate International Domestic Workers' Day struck their best pose.

Attendees also received dinner and snacks.

Ms Gabriel, who has worked in Singapore for 14 years, spent $20 at the flea market where new and pre-loved items such as clothes, books and accessories were sold.

She was pleased with her haul - a new wallet, a bag, some clothes and a new pouch she was going to gift to her niece on her next trip home to the Philippines.

"The items were very cheap," she said.

The proceeds collected will go towards future events organised by the Alliance of Domestic Employees Outreach (Adeo), which put together the carnival.

Adeo is an initiative under Hope Initiative Alliance (HIA), a non-profit that supports various communities including migrant workers and people with disabilities.

Some of the items at the flea market were collected by Big At Heart, a non-profit that was among the partners that worked with HIA to organise the event.

Mrs Crisanta Guiquing, who has worked in Singapore for 16 years, was all smiles.

"I feel relaxed and happy seeing so many domestic workers. Especially after (two years of the pandemic), I am happy to see everyone gathered together," said the 42-year-old Filipino helper.

Central Singapore District Mayor Denise Phua, who was the guest of honour, spoke at the event.

She shared about two domestic helpers who had been part of her family.

One of them was an Indonesian helper who looked after Ms Phua's mother, who had Alzheimer's disease. She took care of her for 13 years until her mother died a few years ago.

"She looked after my mother as though she was her own mother. Without her, I will not be standing here," Ms Phua said.

Central Singapore District Mayor Denise Phua (left), who was the guest of honour, mingling with workers at the event. ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG

Ms Joyder Ng, the team leader of Adeo, said Sunday was Father's Day but not many may be aware that June 16 is International Domestic Workers' Day.

"We wanted to appreciate the sisters who have been supporting their families away from their own home ... (and) also make them feel loved and cared for," she added.

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