Sunday, 6 March 2011

Cecilia's experience - arriving in the UK

I wasn’t involved in making my passport and visa. I had to get some photographs taken and go with someone from my employer’s office to appointments at embassies. I didn’t really understand what was going on. I was told not to worry and to just answer yes when they told me to.

When I arrived in the UK it was not like I expected. It was cold and I did not have warm clothes or any money to buy any. I could not understand anything that anyone said or know how to go anywhere.  

My employer’s house was not big like their house in our country. They had four bedrooms and said that they needed to keep one empty so that I should sleep on a mattress in a small room attached to the kitchen where the washing machine and laundry is kept. 

I was expected to keep the house clean, prepare and clean up after meals and look after the two young children. It was a lot of work, especially as the children were demanding my attention all the time and I was expected to go to them at night if they cried before they woke up their parents. I was not really sure what I was supposed to eat or when so I mostly just ate leftovers. I missed my family but I thought it would be okay as I needed to support them.

To protect the confidentiality of individual domestic workers who come to Kalayaan, Cecilia’s story is made up of a composite of real case studies.

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