Mama Khaddama

Muna Al-Fuzai

Are maids a necessity or a luxury? Do people really need domestic servants – even small families or newlyweds? Do they need a maid for each child, and I don’t mean a nanny specializing in children’s affairs, but a maid who does housework – from cooking, washing and caring for children too? Why do many believe that living in a house without a maid is a disaster and a tragedy?

I know that the immediate response will be this is due to the work of the mother, but no every mother works full time jobs here. Total dependence on the maid in all affairs of the house, including the care of children day and night, indicates nothing but neglect by the parents in their role in caring for their children.

I know that there are families who are capable socially and financially of employing several full-time maids and providing them with decent accommodation as well as respect their rights and needs according to the agreed labor contract. But this does not mean that everyone can. Moreover, many can afford to do this and are not willing to respect the physical and moral rights of helpers.

I think it is odd that many families are racing to recruit maids just to keep up with social appearances and ignore the importance of the role of parents in a child’s life. This conclusion brings to my mind another question about importing maids. There is much talk about the high prices of hiring maids now after the Filipino labor ban. It is regrettable that this phenomenon has become a topic of public concern and talk for many people, whether supporters or opponents. Of course for each social condition, there are positive and negative aspects, but I fear that the negatives are more severe and dangerous in this case.

‘Mama khaddama’ can’t be responsible for raising a child. She can help in the housework, but what is going on now is beyond limits. It is imperative that the institutions of society must set limits to control and protect maids’ problems as much as possible. Therefore, I believe that the requirement of a certain level of income for employers, verification of the availability of a suitable place of residence (a private room with TV) and allowing domestic helpers to keep their mobiles and passports can be ascertained by the embassy labor office in cooperation with the ministries of interior and social affairs.

I wonder why the interior ministry doesn’t require depositing the salaries of domestic workers in local banks to ensure the preservation of their rights, similar to article 18 employees, because depositing the salary in the bank will surely guarantee the right of the worker, hold defaulters to account and verify the obligation of the sponsor to pay wages.

I think that domestic helpers should not have a role in raising children at all. The child grows dependent on the maid completely, so they think they can eat, play and leave their toys scattered around. They never even think about making their own beds and throw their clothes on the ground or bed because the khaddama will clean up after them.

In the eyes of the parents, the maid receives a salary and must do this work. Worse, some parents think the maid has to tolerate mistreatment by children, such as misbehavior and stubbornness without realizing that they are spoiling their kids. Eventually, the maid will leave for her country, and the parents will reap the harvest of their hands.

By Muna Al-Fuzai
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