Kenya: KUDHEIHA Solidarity Center Meeting Report on migrant domestic workers
- Kenya: KUDHEIHA Solidarity Center Meeting Report on migrant domestic workers
- Migrant domestic workers face a lot of challenges. Kudheiha in collaboration with solidarity center held a meeting with some of these migrant workers who have been working in the Gulf Countries and are back in Kenya. Most of those present at the meeting were working in Jeddah, Riyadh, Dammam, Hail etc.
- Nov 28, 2015 (Universal / UTC0)
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KUDHEIHA/Solidarity Center Meeting Report on migrant domestic workers held on 28TH November 2015 at Jumuia Conference in Limuru
- Report Compiled by Teresa Wabuko, KUDHEIHA Workers Union
Migrant domestic workers face a lot of challenges. Kudheiha in collaboration with solidarity center held a meeting with some of these migrant workers who have been working in the Gulf Countries and are back in Kenya. Most of those present at the meeting were working in Jeddah, Riyadh, Dammam, Hail etc.
Despite the fact that most of them had worked in Saudi Arabia and under difficulties, they still wanted to go back. Majority being women, were ready to sacrifice their happiness for the sake of their families. They still wanted and desired to go back and work in the Middle East. This was a clear indication that the Kenyan Government needs to find a lasting solution to issues of migration. Under whatever circumstances, workers will keep on looking for green pastures.
They all learnt a bout working in the middle East through the recruitment agencies. Most of these agencies were not legal after proccessing their travel documents and ensuring that the domestic worker had left the country,the agencies could then no longer be traced. Some of these domestic workers were corned by these agencies and paid up to a maximum of ksh 120,000/= to have their travel documents processed.
These migrant domestic workers reported to have been working in isolated homes, and the language barrier was not a hindrance to communication while performing their duties. It was clear that not all domestic workers were mistreated. It all depended upon the particular family of employment.
Some families they had worked for were very friendly, caring and Kind. The kind families could ensure periods within a day and week and take care the the domestic worker when unwell. The brutal families could not give a dammn whatsoever.
The nature of duties and tasks performed in any particular day varied from one homestead to the other. The male in most of the families of employment were more sympathetic to these Domestic workers than the women.
Unemployment in Kenya was the major reason why they opted to look for jobs elsewhere, to make ends meet for their children and to break the poverty circles within their lives and that of their families. Working a’ broad’ also added status to their dignity, value and respect in the society over a domestic worker working in Kenya.
Majority of the migrant workers who attended the meeting were single women, and left their children in custody of their parents while away. They reported it was difficult for married women to leave their husbands to work far, since most of these husbands ended up re-marrying while they were away.
Back at home most of them are now idle, jobless, some carrying out small scale businesses. Indeed most of them wish to go back because they cannot find work here at home.
They are urging the Kenyan Government to resolve issues amicably and have clear policies on issues of migration, terms and condition of their employment that should embrace descent work. They reported of their counter parts from the Philippines and Indonesia to have better terms of employment and pay as their Governments negotiate for their contracts.
With support from solidarity center, Kudheiha is ready to find out appropriate strategies to organizing migrant domestic workers in Kenya. There are migrant domestic workers living in Kenya from Tanzania, Uganda and Ethiopia. To have a policy in place that protects the rights of migrant domestic workers.