For many foreign domestic helpers living and working in Singapore, their hangout spots tend to be in popular areas like Lucky Plaza and Peninsula Plaza.
Perhaps due to familiarity and word of mouth, the numbers that gather there are numerous, especially on their days off.
To ease congestion at these spots, the Centre for Domestic Employees (CDE) worked together with authorities and set up a gathering site at the former site of Raffles Girls’ School.
At the Anderson Road site, helpers will be able to gather safely and partake in various activities.
The former school was repurposed for use as a gathering ground away from popular hangouts, and allows for about 300 people, according to CDE executive director Shamsul Kamar.
Safe management measures are in place to ensure there’s no overcrowding, TODAY reports him as saying.
For example, helpers scan their identity cards upon entry and have a token that they must wear inside the area.
The token is for tracking close proximity data, which would assist in contact tracing in case Covid-19 infections are detected.
In this space, helpers can engage in activities such as Zumba dancing and tote bag painting.
Of course, if the helpers prefer to sit around and chill with friends, that’s possible too.
TODAY reports that there’s also a NTUC LearningHub booth offering English and basic computer skills courses.
The space is meant for them to be a safe place where they can gather.
On Sunday (7 Mar), Minister of State for Manpower Gan Siow Huang was in attendance and shared that the space can help those who face issues with employers.
There’s a CDE booth set up for helpers to raise issues with their employment.
She hopes that “there will be additional touchpoints” for helpers to seek help as well as meet their friends in a space designed for them.
There’s also a hint that authorities might have more spaces designed for helpers, although as of right now there’s no news on where they may be.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, some helpers have not been able to meet their friends at their usual spots on their day offs.
There are currently crowd-control measures at Lucky Plaza and Peninsula Plaza.
But with spaces like the one at the former RGS site, there’s now a safe space to gather.
Helpers are just like anyone else and want to hang out with their friends on their day off.
Kudos to CDE for the initiative and we hope there’ll be more such spaces set up for these helpers.
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Featured image adapted from Facebook.
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