Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Kalayaan's work

Disclaimer: Kalayaan provides a confidential advice service. To protect the confidentiality of the migrant domestic workers who come to Kalayaan for advice the names and any identifying features (such as names, nationalities and dates) have been changed.

Migrant domestic workers and staff at Kalayaan
One of the reasons Kalayaan is such an exciting place to work is the unpredictability of each day. In theory we plan the times we give advice and give appointments at specific times. In practise we are a small centre with an open door and people walk with ‘just a quick question’. If someone’s visa is about to expire, or they have just ‘run away’ from an employer and have nowhere to sleep that night, or an urgent issue has come up with the police, that is how we spend our day (migrant domestic workers are often reported as ‘missing’ when they leave an employer or have false accusations of theft made against them).

Today the phone was full of messages. Although the centre was open yesterday (Sunday) my colleagues who were in spent the day dealing with registering people for English classes so had no time to listen to the phone. Sundays are the day that there is most demand from migrant domestic workers (MDWs) for advice or other support such as English classes or help filling out forms or writing a letter or CV. This is because for most MDWs, Sunday is the only day they have off. We have tried running activities in the evenings but few MDWs can come to these as they are required to help with supper and / or putting children to bed.

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