Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Indonesian and Philippine centers to produce 'custom-trained maids'

The Jakarta Post

SINGAPORE (DPA): A Singapore company promising "custom-trained maids" is setting up schools in Indonesia and the Philippines, its director said Tuesday. "We want maids with the right attitude and aptitude," The Straits Times quoted Alvin Kor, director of the company Homemaker, as saying.

"If they don't meet these requirements, we will send them back home." Kor said the center in Jakarta, Indonesia, would open next month. The center in the Philippines is due to open in January 2006. The maids will spend two months at the 280-square-metre center in Jakarta learning housekeeping techniques and ways to take care of infants and the elderly.

They will also learn safety tips and how to handle chemicals. Indonesia and the Philippines are the primary sources of the 160,000 domestic helpers in Singapore.

Others come from Thailand, Sri Lanka and India. Abuse of Indonesian maids from rural areas by Chinese employers has become rampant in Singapore. After several maids fell to their deaths while washing windows in high rise housing blocks, Singapore's Manpower Ministry has been trying to crack down on the abusive employers by issuingguidelines on what employers can and cannot expect.

Homemaker currently provides housekeeping services for expatriates living in Indonesia's capital. A training facility for maids was launched on the Indonesian island of Batam last year, but an instructor told The Straits Times that half of the maids received little or no training.

The approximately 50 maids who pass through the center daily use it mainly as a transit point to register with the center's officials, check their documents and attend a three-hour briefing on work safety and Singapore law.

Kor said his company, for an additional fee, will conduct home visits to help employers supervise the maids and to draw up their schedule.

Regardless of their nationality, the salaries of the trained maids will range between S$300 and S$350 (US$178 and US@208). "There is value in paying higher for better maids," Kor said.

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