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A foreign domestic worker, the eldest of eight children, came to Singapore because although she worked as a radio DJ at home, it was not enough to support her family.
Featured on humans of the HOUSE, an organization dedicated to improving the welfare and defending the rights of migrant workers, Janet Remia Aclon Peremne shared her story, and how after working for decades in Singapore, she is now ready to retire.
She wrote that at home her dream was “…to become a broadcast journalist. I quit college and took a job to support my parents. Between work and studies, I was still able to become a DJ and I started an apprenticeship in a local radio station where I was finally hired”.
She added that her DJ salary was not enough to support herself and her parents, so when the opportunity arose for her to come to Singapore, she took it even though she had reservations.
Ms Peremne added that during her 33 years working in Singapore, she tried to move to Canada but was unable to as she did not have enough college credits to apply to schools in that country. country.
“Working as a domestic is never easy. But I am tough and fearless, even if I am alone in a foreign land. In my 33 years working here, I have worked with 10 families. Some are good, but some are the worst. I stood up for myself, I took on all the challenges and I didn’t give up“, Ms. Peremne wrote.
She added that she had been with her current employer for 14 years, the longest time she had ever worked with a single family. “Not much has changed since I started working as a domestic worker in the 1990s, but there is still so much to change when it comes to migrant domestic workers (MDWs) and a fair work environment” , she wrote.
“Based on my experience with 10 different families, I believe employers should treat MDWs with respect, understanding and treat them as human beings. As they say, “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” . she added.
In March 2008, she ran away and stayed at the HOME shelter. It was during her time there that she managed to find her current employers. “I went to the HOME help desk at Lucky Plaza just to thank them for all their help. It was time to give back. So I volunteered at the HOME help desk. I have been a volunteer since 2008 until in 2021”, she wrote.
Ms Peremne urged employers to talk to their migrant domestic workers and keep communication open.
She wrote: “We don’t know what the future holds but I am ready to retire with flying colors now. If I had to start my life over again I would still choose this path because it has taken me to where I am now”. /TISG
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