Sau Feng lives with her son and daughter. She started her career working as a domestic worker last September after attending a course. She worked four days a week, and her career went quite smoothly before the pandemic. The sudden arrival of the ruthless Covid-19 pandemic caused her and other local domestic workers a lot of uncertainty. Her current work income has been reduced by 80 to 90%, which has led to a heavy financial burden for her family. Mui, the union secretary who accompanied Sau Feng in a telephone interview, explained to us the severe plight of local domestic workers. “The market for domestic workers became very quiet ever since the pandemic began. Employers are anxious about the development of the pandemic, along with reasons such as decreased income, unpaid leave requested by their companies, and the desire to take care of children on their own. It has greatly reduced the market demand for local domestic workers.”, said Mui.
In June, when the situation had improved slightly, we took the opportunity to launch a new service targeted towards this pandemic. We arranged a group of local domestic workers to provide home deep cleaning services for vulnerable families in need. The main objective of this project is to provide local domestic workers with a short but stable income. Not only does this help relieve their financial burden, but they can also utilise their professional skills to help those in need in society.
“Helping the elderly makes me very happy. A lot of them are elderly who live alone without anyone helping them. An elderly that I visited has not washed his bed sheets for a long time. I could not leave without helping him to wash the sheets myself. If your grandparents were in the same condition, I am sure you would help them without hesitation. We serve with our hearts.” Sau Feng told us.
There are a lot of elderly and low-income families in Hong Kong who cannot take care of their living environment because of financial difficulties or a lack of ability. Domestic workers have provided significant help. Most of our partner families are elderly who live alone, and some have not changed or cleaned the bed sheets for a long time; some have yellowed windows which make it difficult to see things; some have dusty, dark ceilings or mouldy toilets that give off odours. However, with the hard work of domestic workers, the elderly can now live in a new and healthy living environment and carry out precautions against the pandemic. Since the beginning of this new deep cleaning and home sanitation service, we have more than 50 local domestic workers sign up to participate and have successfully matched more than 30 people. In addition to helping others and earning a small amount of income, Mui believes that…
“domestic workers often work alone in their employer’s home, but in this project, they can often work in pairs, providing them with new opportunities to know more people in their profession. It will also add more joy to their lives during this period.”