Skip to main content

Advertisement

Advertisement

Charity screening raises S$6,000 for migrant workers’ NGO

SINGAPORE — While Filipina domestic helper Edna Degala worked in Singapore for the last 16 years looking after the children of her employers, her late parents and sister helped raise her daughter, now 21, back in the Philippines.

While Filipina domestic helper Edna Degala (in yellow) worked in Singapore for the last 16 years looking after the children of her employers, her late parents and sister helped raise her daughter. She is seen here with her friend, Ms Vilma Laguinday, 43. Photo: Najeer Yusof/TODAY

While Filipina domestic helper Edna Degala (in yellow) worked in Singapore for the last 16 years looking after the children of her employers, her late parents and sister helped raise her daughter. She is seen here with her friend, Ms Vilma Laguinday, 43. Photo: Najeer Yusof/TODAY

Singapore

Follow us on Instagram and Tiktok, and join our Telegram channel for the latest updates.

SINGAPORE — While Filipina domestic helper Edna Degala worked in Singapore for the last 16 years looking after the children of her employers, her late parents and sister helped raise her daughter, now 21, back in the Philippines.

When Ms Degala, 41, watched the lives of other domestic workers play out on the big screen on Sunday (Oct 22), the familiar tale of those living apart from their children resonated.

The charity screening of The Helper at The Projector raised about S$6,000 for migrant workers’ advocacy group, the Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics (Home).

About one-third of about 240 attendees on Sunday were domestic workers while the rest were employers, some of whom had bought tickets for their helpers.

British filmmaker Joanna Bowers said she wanted to call attention to domestic helpers - a segment of society that often looks upon themselves as invisible - and remind them of their importance to households. Photo: Najeer Yusof/TODAY

Directed by British filmmaker Joanna Bowers and released earlier this year in Hong Kong, the documentary has garnered wide media coverage.

Speaking at the screening, Ms Bowers said she wanted to call attention to domestic helpers — a segment of society that often looks upon themselves as invisible — and remind them of their importance to households. When making the film, she had encountered women who were surprised someone wanted to delve into their lives.

The Helper features stories of women working in Hong Kong, such as that of a single mother living apart from her two sons in the Philippines, and a pregnant Indonesian woman wrongly accused of theft by her employers and who ended up sleeping on the beach after being booted out of their house.

Funds raised from the charity screening, organised by parenting portal HoneyKids Asia and marketing agency Hello Sister, will be channelled to Home’s shelter, which houses between 50 and 60 helpers in need. It costs about S$400 to S$500 monthly to house each person.

Ms Degala said she has had positive experiences with her employers over the years. Last year, she discovered she had a benign brain tumour after experiencing headaches and blurred vision.

She had to undergo surgery to remove the tumour, and her then-employers had assured her that they would take care of the medical bills, although insurance eventually covered it.

When she developed another benign tumour and had to undergo a second surgery and radiation, her present employers promised to cover the bills. “They’re very lovely. They let me rest, and they don’t force me to work when I’m tired,” she said.

Her Canadian employer also bought two tickets for her for the screening, urging her to enjoy it with a friend.

Other members of the audience included Mr Jeff Chuang, 29, who attended the screening with his Filipina helper Gretchen Bangayan, 28. “I wanted to show that I appreciate her, and what her community has been doing for Singapore society,” he said.

Read more of the latest in

Advertisement

Popular

Advertisement

Stay in the know. Anytime. Anywhere.

Subscribe to get daily news updates, insights and must reads delivered straight to your inbox.

By clicking subscribe, I agree for my personal data to be used to send me TODAY newsletters, promotional offers and for research and analysis.