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Jakarta Post
The Jakarta Post
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Children get closer to domestic workers with videos, pictures

  • Indra Budiari

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta | Thu, June 25, 2015 | 07:38 am

Zahra Tedjowongso, 12, took the cleanliness of her house for granted until she and her friend Zahira Risnanto captured the daily tasks of Wakhida, a domestic worker at Zahra'€™s grandmother'€™s house, through a digital camera.

By producing a series of photo stories about Wakhida, Zahra said she had learned that being a housekeeper was not an easy job. The girl, who lives with her grandmother, said that without the help of Wakhida, the demands of housework would leave her with limited free time.

The graduate of At-Taqwa Islamic Elementary School said Wakhida had been working at her grandmother'€™s house for 12 years and was seen as one of the family.

'€œ[My grandmother and Wakhida] are more like mother and daughter, especially when it comes to their shared hobby, watching Indian television series,'€ Zahra told The Jakarta Post recently.

Zahra was one of 25 children between 12 and 17 years old who produced four video diaries and five photo stories for a project entitled '€œFrom Youth to Youth: Nine Stories of Our Friendship with Domestic Workers'€. The project was conducted by the International Labor Organization (ILO) in collaboration with the Yayasan Kampung Halaman (YKH), a Yogyakarta-based foundation that focuses on empowering young people to get their voices heard through multimedia platform.

The videos show the roles of domestic workers in the young people'€™s lives, their daily interaction and the lives of the domestic workers. Recording their own words, these videos document the daily lives, challenges, journeys and hopes of the domestic workers.

The 90-minute omnibus film was played at Epicentrum XXI in Kuningan, South Jakarta, on June 12 and at Panakukkang XXI in Makassar, South Sulawesi, on June 16.

YKH Rachma executive director Safitri said the 25 participants had been selected in February from almost 100 teenagers who had registered themselves for the event.

'€œWe hope the movie can provide a better picture of a proper working environment for domestic workers, as well as making the public listen and understand the voices of youth regarding their interaction with domestic workers,'€ Rachma said.

The film also includes a short entitled Nurhayati, about an eponymous domestic worker in Makassar, from point of view of her teenage son, Muhammad Handika.

Handika said he was proud of his mother and his father, a newspaper delivery man, who, he said, worked hard to be able to send him and his brother to school.

'€œMy mother has asthma and she has to take her medication every morning, but that doesn'€™t stop her from working to support the education of my older brother and me,'€ Handika said, adding that his mother had worked as a maid for many years.

Based on ILO data, 2.5 million people work as domestic workers in Indonesia, with 92 percent of them women. The data also reveal that 25 percent are under 15 years old.

Housemaids are vulnerable to mistreatment. Based on data released by the National Network for Domestic Workers Advocacy (Jala PRT), there were 332 cases of mistreatment and violence against domestic workers in 2013, slightly increasing from 322 cases in 2012.

A number of movements have been launched to urge the House of Representatives to pass a bill on the protection of domestic workers, which was presented to the House 11 years ago.

'€œDomestic workers need to be recognized as workers just like any other workers, like you and me,'€ said ILO'€™s officer-in-charge in Indonesia, Michiko Miyamoto.

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