A Focus on Foreign Domestic Workers in Singapore

The Center for Cultured-Centered Approach to Research and Evaluation (CARE) held its first ethnographic production, “Respect Our Rights” at the Ngee Ann Kongsi auditorium (U-Town, NUS) on 5 February, 2015. Drawing upon the notion of participatory social change grounded in cultural stories created by participants, the “Respect Our Rights” documentary was produced with 27 foreign domestic workers (FDWs) from the Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics (HOME) and researchers at CARE. The documentary was part of a larger national campaign to raise awareness on domestic worker rights in Singapore.

Professor Dutta in a discussion with the advisory board of FDWs

Professor Dutta in a discussion with the advisory board of FDWs

An image captured through Photovoice, a participatory image-making workshop with FDWs in Singapore

An image captured through Photovoice, a participatory image-making workshop with FDWs in Singapore

Impact: Under the direction of Provost’s Chair Professor Mohan Dutta, CARE has been conducting ethnographic research with FDWs sheltered by HOME, and seeks to understand what they consider to be health and wellbeing during their employment in Singapore. This project stresses the importance of placing the voices of domestic workers at the heart of decision-making. Key problems emphasized served as the impetus for campaign objectives and messaging strategies developed by an advisory board of foreign domestic workers in collaboration with the research and creative team at CARE. The “Respect Our Rights” campaign emerged through the participation of FDWs who wanted to reach out to current and potential employers and policy makers with messages regarding their fundamental human rights.

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