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Indonesia: A Teen Domestic Worker talks about her life and work

Indonesia: A Teen Domestic Worker talks about her life and work

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by IDWFED published Jul 21, 2013 12:00 AM
Santika Rantika, a teenage household helper, works almost 15 hours a day to earn a living. Despite her young age, she is also able to support her parents. An early riser, she starts her work at 6 a.m. and finishes at 10 p.m. each day. Her job description includes washing clothes, cleaning the whole house and her least favorite task: cooking. Santika told My Jakarta that the role of a household helper is to provide excellent service to a busy family. While Santika enjoys and is grateful for the employment it provides, she admits she would have been better off finishing her high school studies. It is for this reason Santika urges the government to invest more in the nation’s higher education system.

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Read the original article in full: My Jakarta: Santika Rantika, Teen Domestic Helper | The Jakarta Globe

Santika Rantika, a teenage household helper, works almost 15 hours a day to earn a living. Despite her young age, she is also able to support her parents.

An early riser, she starts her work at 6 a.m. and finishes at 10 p.m. each day. Her job description includes washing clothes, cleaning the whole house and her least favorite task: cooking. Santika told My Jakarta that the role of a household helper is to provide excellent service to a busy family.

While Santika enjoys and is grateful for the employment it provides, she admits she would have been better off finishing her high school studies. It is for this reason Santika urges the government to invest more in the nation’s higher education system.

Why did you choose to become a domestic helper?

Economic conditions hindered my studies. I was unable to attend high school and hence, only completed middle school. For any other skillful occupation, one needs to be at least high-school educated.

With a high-school qualification out of reach, I settled on a physical occupation to make a living and earn my bread and butter.

Where do you come from and how long have you been in Jakarta?

I come from Kuningan district in West Java. I’ve been here for less than a year.

So, why is it that you work in Jakarta rather than in your own village?

In my kampung people aren’t very economically stable — they aren’t very dependent on household staff to run the affairs of the house. It is nearly impossible to obtain such jobs in my kampung. Jakarta is the capital of Indonesia. People here are well paid, and there are also more job opportunities for domestic helpers. I also aim to become more independent and self-reliant, to gain experience and to work in a completely new and different atmosphere.

What are your likes and dislikes in your workplace?

I mostly adore my work and the cooperative house owners. I am never accused for slight mistakes and am given sufficient personal time to do my shalat [prayers] and to communicate with my family and friends at home. I do, however, dislike cooking because I do not possess sufficient skills to be a good cook. But it is part of my job description.

How much do you earn in a month? Are you satisfied with your salary?

I earn a sufficient amount to cover my living expenses and to provide a monthly allowance to my family. In my opinion, no one is ever satisfied with how much they earn.

Do you feel that the legal minimum wage in Jakarta limits your earnings?

It surely does limit everyone’s dream earnings. However, if we are to constantly debate and battle for wage increases, the country may economically suffer because many large companies may declare bankruptcy and shut down. As a result, in the future, there may be an employment crisis. It’s all a cycle. I do understand such issues and hence stay satisfied with my earnings.

You only recently arrived in Jakarta, what do you think of the metropolitan city?

Jakarta, an industrialized city, is a place to achieve one’s dreams. It may not have many sightseeing spots, but it has the potential to drive the economic dreams of many individuals and also to provide the most varied and diverse jobs to a large number of individuals.

How do you propose that the government should meet the carrier targets for people working in the household help sector?

The government, in my opinion, should not promote the jobs for household helpers. The government should promote and lay emphasis for the citizens of the country to learn, to be independent and maintain their own houses. However, on the other hand, the government should strictly encourage and make schooling mandatory and free for all until high school.

If this is done and emphasized, the number of people working as household helpers will be drastically reduced. It must be noted that such an occupation exists in today’s society only because the mass population does not possess sufficient qualifications to apply for skillful jobs.


Photo: My Jakarta: Santika Rantika, Teen Domestic Helper | The Jakarta Globe

Source: Parvesh Chainani/The Jakarta Globe

Story Type: Story

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