My Fair Home carers mark International Domestic Workers Day
On the 16th June Ireland and the entire world celebrated International Domestic Workers Day (IDWD), the 9th anniversary of the adoption of the ILO (International Labour Organisation) Convention 189 on “Decent Work for Domestic Workers”.
We in My Fair Home (MFH) made sure we marked this really important day. MFH is a group set up by migrant home care workers and the Migrant Rights Centre (MRCI) to improve the lives and working conditions of carers in Ireland. The MFH Network provides a safe space for members to come together collectively to share their experiences of working in the home care sector.
Our members come from diverse backgrounds, some are ‘live in’ carers, others work for agencies and many are undocumented. Members take real pride in the work that they do, they are very passionate about caring and many of them feel a family connection towards the person they work with. Collectively we want to highlight this contribution but also improve the working lives of our members.
IDWD matters because it is the day for members to shine a light on their labour and showcase the massive contribution they make to Irish Society. COVID-19 has really highlighted the vital importance of care work and essential work. The sector however is unregulated, and the work is often undervalued and under paid.
We asked some members to tell us why My Fair Home and IDWD mattered to them.
Reggie, as he is known by his friends has been living in Ireland for the past twelve years. He works as a live-in carer and describes his job as very rewarding, caring for his clients as if they were his own family. Reggie says, ‘‘I believe in good karma, if I take good care of my clients my hope is that my own parents back home are well cared for”.
Reggie takes a lot of pride in his work and remarks that care work is ‘not a job for everyone’, as it can be challenging at times. Reggie’s own father passed away last year on St Patrick’s day, Reggie was unable to travel back home for the funeral. But he sought comfort in the support of his Filipino community here in Ireland.
Jacky Amores, has been living and working in Ireland for the past 7 years like Reggie she also works as a live-in carer. She speaks of her work with so much pride and great affection, “caregiving is a moral task, and that involves being there for the person you mind and being committed. Every day when I wake them up and get them dressed, I brush their hair so that they look their best. I make their bed and wash their clothes. I prepare their meals and give their medication. I give them the full care”.
“As a carer I am happy to take care of my client and give them my love and treat them as my own parents. I am proud to be a carer because by taking care of them I can help them to be comfortable, to be happy and to feel safe. Because they know that I am taking good care of them, not only the person I mind, but also their children who don’t have time to mind their parents, so that they feel comfortable that I’m taking care of their parents”.
Allan, who has lived and worked in Ireland for eleven years says that, I know it’s a noble job, as I am able to give quality of life and a safe environment to elderly people here in Ireland. We fill in the gap of care, love, attention and company for vulnerable individuals. I’m happy to see them still living with dignity in their own home.’
Many migrant carers love their work and are deeply connected to the person they care for. They are our frontline workers who show up every day despite having concerns for their own safety and the safety of their own families. These men and women have made cocooning possible especially during this COVID-19, looking after our loved ones and making their lives more comfortable and dignified. At the same time many of them face an uncertain future. Some are undocumented and many have very precarious employment realities. We do see a pattern of low pay and poor working conditions for members that we are starting to document and respond to in MFH.
My hope is that migrant domestic workers emerge as the unsung heroes in this pandemic by keeping our older people safe and cared for. Currently over 7,000 people are on HSE waiting lists for home care services. Demand for home care services is expected to increase by 66% by 2030. Right now we are failing workers, families and older people. The draft Programme for Government has welcome commitments to regularise undocumented workers and for the introduction of a new statutory homecare scheme for older people. We hope that these will be given urgent attention when the new government forms. My Fair Home will be watching closely and we are just getting organised.
Please have a look at My Fair Home film here on MRCI’s Facebook page.
Linda Gloria Keitasha – Care Development Worker MRCI
My Fair Home, International Domestic Workers' Day 2020
Yesterday, to celebrate and wish everyone a happy International Domestic Workers Day, My Fair Home members came together to make this beautiful video >>>They are proud of the fruits of their labour and want recognition, regularisation and better working conditions.We hope this new government will give undocumented workers urgent attention.#MyFairHome #InternationalDomesticWorkersDay #FrontLineHeroes #CareForThoseWhoCareForYouPosted by Migrant Rights Centre Ireland - MRCI on Wednesday, 17 June 2020