Legal help among new services at clubhouses for foreign maids

Legal help among new services at clubhouses for foreign maids

Legal counselling is among the latest services offered at a clubhouse for foreign domestic workers which opened this May.

The clubhouse, which is run by the Foreign Domestic Worker Association for Social Support and Training (Fast), started its legal clinic on Nov 23.

Since then, it has organised two sessions and connected about 50 domestic workers from countries like India and Indonesia with pro bono lawyers from the Law Society of Singapore.

Speaking at a carnival yesterday, Fast senior executive Nathalia Hadisurya, 29, told the crowd of about 4,000 Indonesian domestic workers that "if your employer has not paid you for three months, come to us".

"We will get professional lawyers for you," she said, adding that everything would be kept confidential.

Fast was at the event, organised by delivery service provider PosTKI, to recruit more members for the clubhouse. It also announced to the mostly Indonesian crowd that any family members of those aboard missing AirAsia Flight QZ8501 could call its hotline for financial or other aid.

The 2,800 sq ft clubhouse at Raeburn Park near the former Tanjong Pagar Railway Station has around 1,800 to 2,000 members. Membership costs $4 a year.

Members can attend classes such as cooking, as well as recreational activities such as zumba, yoga and karaoke.

Madam Munk Haris, 54, an Indonesian from West Java who has been a domestic helper here for 16 years, is a regular at the clubhouse. "I like the zumba and yoga classes," she said.

Fast executive director William Chew, 57, said it is looking for premises for a second clubhouse. "Our hope is that the new clubhouse can also incorporate a shelter and a culinary centre."

This article was first published on December 29, 2014.
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