May is helper appreciation month so here’s how you can thank this integral member of your home.
There are more than 380,000 domestic workers in Hong Kong. That’s 10% of the working population! With little or no affordable child care services in the region, these women (and a few men) make it possible for others to go to work. Sadly though, their work is barely recognised as it happens in our homes, behind closed doors. We tend to forget that our helpers may go through a very emotional time, working long hours and living away from their families. This month, let’s celebrate and be thankful for the important contribution that they make to our lives.
Why is being thankful essential?
This is not a regular working scenario, with fixed office hours and then the option to switch off and head home. With no other refuge to turn to, most domestic workers are deeply offended by negative comments or a firm tone of voice. Often, language barriers lead to miscommunication. Indifference or thinking they are not worthy leaves a bitter taste. For a good balance in your family, you need your domestic worker to stay motivated with a positive attitude. Appreciation is often their biggest reward.
What you can do on a daily basis
Most helpers are incredibly touched by simple gestures and praise. You can also choose specific moments to reward her, like her birthday, her children’s birthdays or graduation and Christmas. This is also an opportunity to connect with her and have a friendly talk!
The best gifts you can give your domestic worker
1. Time off
Understandably, all domestic workers miss their children. Giving them the opportunity to go home, at a time when they really need or want to, is priceless for them. If your domestic worker has children in their final year of primary or high school, they will be graduating at the end of March. Buying her tickets home at this specific time would mean the world to her and to her kids!
It doesn’t always have to be a special occasion, but you could consider giving your helper some money for her children’s birthday. Also, a little extra cash if she works harder than usual (when your family is visiting or if you host big dinner parties).
3. Body check
Domestic workers are always grateful for medical attention and intervention. Good Link Consultants and QHMS are reliable centres to get health checks done. You could also encourage her to get screened for breast and cervical cancer if she is over 40 (most early detection tests are free or subsidised).
Last year, Uplifters (the online education platform for domestic workers) met with Natalia Morrison, a health consultant here in Hong Kong. She recently published a comprehensive cookbook which she wrote with her domestic worker. If your domestic worker likes cooking, she will love Home Cooking East & West for the variety of recipes and information it contains.
5. The gift of education
Finally, the gift of a training course is the ticket to growth and empowerment, and it benefits your family as well. You can find a multitude of courses whether it is to learn how to cook, to administer first aid, or to understand how to save and prepare for the future. Uplifters offers free money-management and personal growth courses online. They can join via Facebook.
So this May, don’t forget to show appreciation to your domestic worker. A small thank you goes a long way in building a harmonious home.
If you are interested in getting additional tips on how to create a healthy win-win relationship with your helper, please subscribe to the Uplifters newsletter.