Recipe for success: Domestic helper Genneby Onilan (right) has been attending a baking course with the blessings of her employer Mieke De Rooij. — The Straits Times / Asia News Network
FOR 30-year-old maid Jennifer Balucay, her weekly day off is not just for taking a break from cooking and cleaning.
The mother of an 11-year-old boy has forked out S$100 (RM260) in instalments over two months to attend a 10-part caregiver course run by the Catholic church.
The Filipina, who earns S$500 (RM1,302) a month, said she hoped the skills could help her get a job in Canada, where the pay is higher.
She is among a growing number of maids who are using their days off to learn new skills.
Local organisations which offer such courses say demand is rising after days off for maids were made compulsory last January.
The Catholic-run Archdiocesan Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People (ACMI) Training Centre, for instance, had an enrolment of 795 maids last year, compared with 478 in 2008. Its courses include dress-making and learning to run a business.
Bunda Network, a Christian organisation which caters to Indonesian maids, started its free English and computer classes with only two students in 2012. The classes now see between 30 and 60 students a week.
“The classes can help when they look for professional jobs or start their own businesses,” coordinator Erlina Santoso said. — The Straits Times / Asia News Network