Exemplary : Worker and Employer

151209 fdw-of-the-year

SINGAPORE: When Ms Ranpati Dewage Siyanthi Siromani Pushpika first came to Singapore to be a foreign domestic worker (FDW) in 1997, she was given only one task: To take care of her employer’s sickly child.

It may seem like a daunting task for someone with no nursing background, but she bravely took it on. Her charge was a mere seven months old then, and born with arthrogryposis multiplex congenita – a rare musculoskeletal disorder which left him immobile. 

Five years later, the Sri Lankan’s responsibilities doubled as her employer gave birth to a second son with the same condition. Besides cooking for, feeding and bathing the boys, Ms Pushpiika, 44, also learnt to do cardiopulmonary resuscitation and physiotherapy.

“When the boys got older, they had complications due to their sickness. Their health deteriorated, and they built up phlegm. We had to tap them so they cough out the phlegm or use a machine to get rid of it,” said her employer Selvakumari Chelladurai, 45.

Both of the children have since died from their illnesses, but Ms Pushpika continues to work for Ms Chelladurai and her husband. Ms Pushpika, who is single, said: “I’m very happy (working here) because my ma’am is my best friend. When I came to Singapore, I didn’t know how to speak English, take care of children or cook. But she very kindly taught me everything.”

On Dec 6 2015, Ms Pushpika was crowned the FDW of the Year at the 6th FDW Day, organised by the Foreign Domestic Worker Association for Social Support and Training (FAST). She won S$2,000, after being nominated by her employer.

Ms Chelladurai, a financial controller, said: “Pushpika is like a family member to us. She’s dedicated to what she came to do. She’s not only a foreign domestic worker, she’s more than that. She was a big sister to my little boys, and she really took care of them, and became a part of the family.”

Speaking at the award ceremony on Sunday, Minister of State for Manpower Sam Tan paid tribute to FDWs.

“(They) help us to look after our house, take care of our elderly, and nurture our children. As housekeeper, caregiver and friend, FDWs help us to juggle our careers and family commitments, and give Singaporeans more time to pursue their hobbies and passions,” said Mr Tan. “To leave loved ones behind to take on a job in a foreign country cannot be easy… On behalf of Singaporean employers, I would like to say a very big thank you.”

Exemplary employers were also honoured at the award ceremony. Yap Sock Hoe, 65, took home the FDW Employer of the Year Award, after being nominated by her FDW Marny Coronado Pera.

Said Ms Pera, 58: “Even today, they still say, ‘Please’ and ‘Thank you’. These are the things that keep me grounded.” When Ms Pera approached her employer in 2011 for a loan to buy two plots of land in the Philippines, Mdm Yap did not hesitate to lend her 120,000 Philippine pesos (about S$3,500). The loan has since been repaid.

In 2008, when Ms Pera’s son Tommy decided to move to Singapore to find work, Mdm Yap’s son opened his house to him for a month. The Yap family also supported him through his job search, and he eventually landed a position as a therapist.

Source: http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/domestic-worker-who-took/2324778.html

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