It was a meaningful two days of building awareness and garnering pledges in support of the welfare rights of Foreign Domestic Workers (FDWs) in Singapore. The Respect Our Rights: Different Jobs, Same Respect campaign roadshow was held on 8 and 9 April 2017 at Tampines Mall and NEX Shopping Centre.
Initiated by forty-two final-year Communications and New Media students from the National University of Singapore, the roadshow was a result of 12 weeks of preparation over the semester.
Joleen Lee, the project leader of Respect Our Rights: Different Jobs, Same Respect introduces the campaign to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) representative and Guest-of-Honour
The roadshow garnered 1,234 pledges from Singaporeans, who each received a free goodie bag filled with goodies such as a decal with the pledge, as well as a cup of coffee for them to bring home. Every coffee cup was stamped with the words I Respect My Foreign Domestic Worker while each goodie bag had a sticker that served as a reminder to the 3 things that pledge-takers committed to. The 3 things included:
- Giving their FDWs a weekly day off,
- Not confiscating their FDW’s phone, and
- Not keeping their passport if it is against their will
Many participants publicly demonstrated their support by taking pictures at the photobooth with their pledges, which were displayed at the exhibition.
A Ministry of Manpower (MOM) representative attended the event as a Guest-of-Honour to show support for the cause. Head of National University of Singapore (NUS) Communications and New Media Department, and the founding director of NUS’s Center for Culture-Centered Approach to Research and Evaluation (CARE), Professor Mohan J Dutta, began the opening ceremony with a welcoming address to participants.
Professor Mohan J Dutta said,
The 3.0 version of Respect Our Rights continues to push for creating spaces for listening to the voices of foreign domestic workers in Singapore. The campaign invites employers to consider the importance of treating foreign domestic workers with respect and encourages simple yet important behaviours.
A highlight of the event, the photo story exhibition featuring real stories shared by FDWs, attracted significant attention from the crowd, who responded by writing encouragement notes to share their love and support to FDWs in Singapore. Informational displays were also present to educate FDW employers on the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) guidelines on the rights of FDWs in Singapore.