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Brazil: Interview with Valdelice de Jesus Almeida, president of the union of Maranhão and elected officer of FENATRAD

by IDWFED published May 01, 2020 01:12 PM

Brazil -

1 – What are you most worried about?

My biggest concern is that the domestic workers would get the COVID-19 disease. I’m not only worried not about my own health, but also about the health of domestic workers in general. Those who have a contract can stay home, and the daily workers, like myself, got fired. Staying at home means not getting paid. As most of the domestic workers are the breadwinners for their households, how will they pay for their bills? My family, for example, depends on my salary, since my husband cannot afford to pay for everything on his own. I don’t know how I am going to pay for the share of the expenses I am usually responsible for. I haven’t been receiving money for weeks. Most of the daily workers, diaristas, will go through this same situation.

2 – What does your day look like now?  

My day now consists of being a housewife. I am cleaning, cooking, caring for the household, just like before, except that I am not getting paid for that. I also spend part of the day calling my affiliates and comrades to check in on them, to know how they are coping. I speak to at least 20 domestic workers every day, by WhatsApp, and I call another 5 who don’t have the application, every Saturday, on their landlines. I ask them how they are doing, if they are taking care of themselves, and offer my support. I let them know that I am here if they need me. I know the situation is difficult for all of them and it can be nice to have someone to talk to, we all want someone to tell us everything is going to be fine.