On performing a Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) at her place of employment, Sandy tested positive for Covid-19. She was asked to leave the house immediately but pleaded to stay as it was raining in the middle of the night. She isolated herself in a room and was given a small meal.
But her condition worsened.
The next day Sandy was asked to go to a community centre to test herself. On testing positive, her employer asked her not to return home and make her own quarantine arrangements.
That left Sandy stranded without shelter and her belongings. Sandy started looking for assistance and was referred to HELP.
HELP provided her with a safe shelter and medicines, food, and warm clothing. After recovering from the virus, Sandy wanted to go back to work as she cared for and loved the children. She just wanted to continue looking after them.
However, when she returned to her place of employment, she was in for a rude shock. Sandy found out that her contract was terminated. She was asked to leave with her belongings.
She felt rejected, hurt and scared.
She stayed at a park late that night until she was placed at a temporary shelter. Over the next few weeks, HELP supported her with case counselling and assisted in negotiating a settlement with her employer.
These traumatic experiences affected Sandy emotionally, leaving her feeling scared and helpless. She returned to her home country and joined her family to cope with the circumstances.
Like Sandy, many domestic workers testing positive for Covid-19 have experienced a sudden loss of job and a home, leaving them abandoned with no source of income.
Despite the issues and challenges associated with domestic work, they migrate to Hong Kong and contribute to the city’s economic and social growth. More often than not, they are vulnerable, exploited, and work in conditions where their rights are not protected.
With 16 June being International Domestic Workers Day, let’s pledge to respect domestic work, promote equality, and increase appreciation of domestic workers’ contributions to Hong Kong’s society.