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5 ways not to treat domestic workers

10 April 2015, 18:06 Shakila Alivitsa

Nairobi -  A while back, there was that video that showed a house help brutalize a child that made me think twice about ever hiring one if I ever had a child. I am sure my sentiments are followed by many. It just put the fear of God in me.

I am not going to talk about that on this article though, I am going to talk about some house-helps and the plight they go through in the households of their employers. The house help is the woman’s territory and is rarely if ever dealt with by the man of the house. At times some of these men have no clue when it comes to how the house is run. He just comes home one day, finds a strange woman in the house and life moves on for him.

On the other hand, there are some women who are re-incarnations of the devils themselves. Most house-helps are usually teenagers who were unable to finish school or just women from the rural area who had no other means. When they come to town, they most times have no means of getting back to their rural home without help. We talk about those who are in the UAE who are brutalized by foreigners but back at home there are some vile creatures that are living amongst us.

Someone’s child is sent to live with you, even if you pay them. Does that mean that you get the license to mistreat them?

The one who locks up food

My mother is the one who told me about this one.  The woman of the house, as everyone else is leaving to go to work, she makes sure to lock up all the foods in the house. If possible even the kitchen. All in the name of preventing the maid from being wasteful. It got to a point, that she was not even allowed lunch and had to stay hungry the whole day until evening when everyone else would eat. Even then, she would have to wait until everybody else has finished eating sio that she can have some.

There is no rest for you

Sunday to Sunday, your back had better have a number seven shape otherwise you are not working hard enough. Some employers do not allow their help any off days. It might have been agreed upon in which case it is okay. But what about those who were promised the day off, and on coming here it is intolerable to their employer.

Those who live in bad conditions

Most houses do not have a servant’s quarter for the majority of the middle income earners. So helps do not get their own living arrangement. In some cases, they are given an area on the floor to make a makeshift bed to sleep on every night. It is allowed if the bed is good, we have all slept on the floor at one point or the other. In some cases though you get the help is given rags to pass the night in because she is not good enough to warrant materials in good conditions.

The one who beats the help

Like I said before, most helps who come to Nairobi are teenagers who dropped out of school because of pregnancy, no fees or any such condition. So if the employer raises a hand to beat them, they cannot defend themselves because they are not strong enough, have no means to go back home if they get chased out or they just have no one to help them here. Beating someone because they failed to get instructions is also violence. Even if they are a child, they are not your child, so you do not have the right to hit them.

The one who allows the children to disrespect her

Children learn their manners from their parents. If your children are ill behaved, that is because you are also ill behaved. How they behave in public is a direct reflection of you. When you allow your children to bully, talk down and insult someone who may even be your age mate, that says a lot for you as both a person and as a parent.

This is how innocent children end up paying for their parent’s misdeeds. You mistreat the help, then you leave your child with that very same help. In your head what are you thinking? The help takes out their frustrations with you on the child.

In most cases, let me amend that, in all cases, the men of the house are never allowed to speak up or defend the help. That is when he gets the side look that just speaks volumes in itself. So he keeps quiet because he does not want to be involved.

If you have someone’s child at your home then treat them as you would like your own child to be treated.

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- MyNews24

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