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A Home Away From Home in Singapore

A Home Away from Home Singapore is a campaign that aims to raise awareness of violence and other issues that domestic workers in Singapore are facing. Through this project, we wanted to increase visibility and, in the long run, inclusivity through a day of appreciation for the domestic workers themselves and to try to effect attitudinal change in the minds of the general public.

Our campaign is aimed at raising awareness of violence against domestic workers, as well as to create a sense of inclusivity for this community into the broader society. Violence against domestic workers is an underlying issue that is very prevalent within our society, yet it does not receive much attention. Also, domestic workers are an invisible group who are often seen as outsiders, and who frequently face ostracism from Singaporeans. We hope to raise the visibility of this particular social group within our society. We aim to create a sense of inclusiveness among domestic workers in Singapore, as well as to bring awareness about the situation of domestic worker abuse.

We are doing this by raising awareness through online social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram (@ahomeawayfromhomesg) to target online users. The idea is also to create attitudinal change and action through a one-day booth event on November 16 2015. Through the one-day event, we will be setting up a mobile photo booth, asking people in the general public take a photo to show their support and solidarity with domestic workers. The photos will be posted onto our Facebook and Instagram pages. We will also gave out self-designed bookmarks as a form of appreciation to the domestic workers in Singapore.

We are doing this to give domestic workers a sense of belonging, so that they can call Singapore their home for the period that they will be staying here. Work contracts for domestic workers are in blocks of two years, and we hope to make the duration of their stay a little more pleasant. Domestic workers form a pool of unskilled labourers, who have come to replace domestic work previously undertaken by Singaporean women. We hope to impress on them that they are our unsung heroes, as their day-to-day work remains unappreciated. Domestic workers are constantly taken for granted, and we often fail to remember that they are human beings as well.

“A Home Away From Home” is the brain child of Shermain and Yen Ping. Both Shermain and Yen Ping are undergraduates from the University at Buffalo, Singapore Institute of Management (SIM-UB).
*Shermain’s passion in the arts, music, and creative industries run deep, especially in the expression of everyday human social interactions and agency. As a sociology major, her area of interests and focus lies particularly in micro sociological studies of gender, the nature of family, and the role of women. Started as part of a women studies course, this self- initiated project, which raises awareness about violence against women in Singapore holds a great deal of significance to her as she believes strongly in women’s agency and their ability to act, choose, and make decisions to effect desired outcomes.
*Yen Ping is highly interested in social science especially the fields of psychology and sociology. As a sociology major, she aims to put into practice what she has studied about social order and change by helping the unsung heroes (namely domestic helpers) in Singapore for a start.