Some ways you can help your helper.
All families in Hong Kong who have helpers know just what a blessing these amazing women and men can be! If you have a domestic worker at home, you have to ensure that she (or he) feels supported and cared for. Families are now increasing their efforts to enhance the well-being and future prospects of their domestic helper by enrolling them in a class targeting a particular skill or activity. In going beyond the specifications of the employment contracts, families are ensuring that their domestic helper feels appreciated whilst caring for their family and home. What’s even better is that both the employer and the worker benefit mutually. Take your pick from this variety of useful and interesting classes and workshops for helpers in Hong Kong.
Editor’s Note: The situation in Hong Kong regarding closures and restrictions on opening hours due to the coronavirus is constantly evolving. Many businesses are taking extra precautions, but please advise your helper to follow the latest government advice and stay home if he or she has recently travelled overseas, has interacted with anyone who has been away, or displays any symptoms. Many of these classes are temporarily suspended and will resume after the COVID-19 outbreak has been contained or are available online.
Child And Baby Care
From swaddling and feeding to handling misbehaviours and communicating with young children, learning the ropes of child and baby care is essential for ensuring your little ones are safe and well looked after. Helpers can benefit from child care classes too as that is often the first type of experience potential employers look at.
Uplifters works to empower underprivileged communities with online education and specialises in learning modules for domestic workers. Its baby care online content is developed by a paediatrician and covers baby care, safety and development from 0 to 18 months of age. Tailormade for helpers, other topics covered in this class are baby well-being, hygiene, food safety, baby’s milestones, health and how to communicate with your employer.
Annerley, the midwives clinic at OT&P, offers a variety of baby care training classes and courses for helpers. These range from caring for children (taught by a behavioural therapist to teach your helper to deal with toddler behaviour) to a baby care workshop for infants from 0 to 12 months old.
InspirED was started in 2018 by a qualified Early Years Practitioner. It offers helper training courses as it recognises that domestic workers play an important role in our families and in the life of the children in their care. It has a wide variety of programmes including communication with young children, learning through play in the early years, helping children learn to cooperate and more.
The Matilda International Hospital runs a child care course designed for domestic helpers, especially those working with children aged 0 to 1 years. A multiple-choice examination is given to the students at the end of the course, and a performance evaluation will be completed by the teacher. They’ll get a record of attendance by the Matilda International Hospital if they pass.
First Aid And CPR
A knowledge of first aid practices is vital to ensure that your helper can provide the right medical assistance in the case of an emergency.
Hong Kong Red Cross offers an 8-hour domestic helper first aid course in English, Cantonese or Putonghua. The programme aims at heightening the domestic helpers’ alertness when dealing with injuries and household accident prevention. The course can be conducted at the client’s premises or at the Red Cross Training Centre.
Best First Aid provides a 3-hour class focusing on infant and child first aid and CPR. The course focuses on the types of medical emergencies that children face, and how they differ from adult conditions.
The Matilda International Hospital runs a paediatric emergency first aid training course. A practical examination is required to test participants’ practical skills of CPR and first aid.
Along with the nuts and bolts of safety, First Aid and CPR, Annerley focuses on making the best choices in certain situations. It offers a 4-hour intensive first aid course for helpers that is interactive and hands-on. The students are expected to participate and practise, with child-size CPR mannequins to facilitate this.
Money Management And Personal Growth
This is one of the greatest gifts you could give your helper. It will stand her (or him) in good stead long after he or she has moved on from your household. Given that most domestic workers have small salaries and large families to take care of, financial education classes for helpers are important to help them learn to save and grow their hard-earned money.
Enrich believes that financial education is essential for empowerment. It has a variety of classes from beginners’ workshops like Money-Wise Migrants to teach the basics of money management to advanced courses such as Setting Up My Business for helpers who have entrepreneurial ambitions. Enrich aims to teach domestic workers to escape debt, plan for their future and achieve their dreams.
The vision of the Uplifters Personal Growth course is to help domestic workers build sustainable futures for themselves, their families and their countries. The programme has two modules to be completed over six months. It is available via an online classroom making it flexible to fit the schedules of your helper.
Language And Cultural Programmes
From mastering English, Cantonese and Mandarin, to learning to communicate with an employer effectively, language and culture programmes are key to helping your helper feel comfortable in the family home.
Caritas’ Asian Migrant Workers Social Service Project runs orientation seminars that are designed to help domestic workers understand the culture, work expectations, and common living habits of Chinese and Western employers. Their courses encourage helpers to participate collectively, to take on social responsibilities and articulate their rights. They also run English, Cantonese and Mandarin courses.
Caritas Asian Migrant Workers Social Service Project (Weekday office), Room 7-8, 1/F, Lee Ga Building, 131 Sai Wan Ho Street, Shau Kei Wan, Hong Kong
Caritas Asian Migrant Workers Social Service Project (Weekend centre), G/F., 28A Fortress Hill Road, Fortress Hill, Hong Kong, 2147 5988, SMS and WhatsApp for FDH: 5497-2899, [email protected], www.cd.caritas.org.hk
H.O.P.E’s vision and mission is to support and enhance the integration of ethnic minorities in Hong Kong society. It aims to create an inclusive community that embraces cultural diversity and racial harmony. They also run English and Cantonese classes at Basic, Intermediate and Advanced Levels at $100 for a 50-hour course. There are also cross-cultural activities, personality development and youth programmes.
Enrich’s Speak Up course enables your helper to build confidence, communicate effectively and know his or her rights. It is also useful as it coaches helpers to manage peer pressure, particularly when dealing with friends and family that borrow money.
Food And Nutrition
Finding a cooking class for your helper will mean that your family is provided with a healthy and balanced diet, often made from locally sourced food.
Super Helper runs courses that teach the basics and beyond of Western cooking, Asian cooking (currently on hold) and home management (child care and housekeeping). Cooking and housekeeping workshops are conducted in separate locations.
Cook like a Chef teaches global food skills prepared with market-driven ingredients. These classes are held twice a week, and domestic helpers are welcome to join in. Meenu Chugani, who runs the course, offers individual, package and customised classes.
The YWCA regularly runs cooking classes as part of its Helper Training Academy. Over six days, helpers are taught the basics of Western cooking and kitchen management. Helpers are taught to make meals for the whole day, including breakfast, lunch, dinner, desserts and snacks. However, these classes are currently on hold due to the coronavirus outbreak and are expected to resume after July.
Sports And Fitness
Sport and fitness are key for ensuring the well being of your helper. Whether it’s learning a new sporting skill, or providing the time for them to participate in a course or weekly class, some physical activity will contribute to better mental and physical health.
Pherform is the first female-specific strength and conditioning system designed for working women; and your helper might enjoy being coached by female coaches. Pherform’s “Dream Team” provides free outdoor sessions at Tamar Park with yoga followed by a workout. It is the perfect social setting for your helper’s health training on her day off.
Learning to swim can be life-changing which is why Splash offers free adult swimming programmes for migrant domestic workers over the course of twelve weeks. While the programme is free, the attendance requirements are strict and the first class is mandatory (no exceptions). If you would like to fund and encourage your helper to swim (critical if your helper will be accompanying your child for swim classes), you could arrange paid weekday programmes at your apartment complex or private club. Rates start at $2,000 per person for a 12-hour programme. You will need to find like-minded friends as the minimum class size is eight.
If you are interested in getting your helper to learn martial arts, consider United Taekwondo Academy Hong Kong which has classes every weekend on Saturday and Sunday across various sports centres across the city. It has a large number of member helpers for its programmes.
Given the stresses of her work, you may find that your helper benefits immensely from the practice of yoga. Andiappan Yoga Community is a non-profit, fully volunteer organisation with a mission is to share yoga with those who may not be able to afford yoga classes. All its yoga instructors are certified with the International Yoga Academy and are committed to teaching yoga on a strictly volunteer basis. You could also join a free online class with your helper to encourage her to get started.
Featured image courtesy of Getty Images, image 1 courtesy of Annerley via Facebook, image 2 courtesy of Janko Ferlič via Unsplash, image 3 courtesy of Enrich via Facebook, image 4 courtesy of Enrich via Facebook, image 5 courtesy of Maarten van den Heuvel via Pexels, image 6 courtesy of Uplifters via Facebook.