The following messages of solidarity were delivered at the recent “OBR Justice for Domestic Workers” event in London on 19 June, International Domestic Workers Day alongside a poem read by Naoni Mukromin:
MESSAGE BY TAROJ TOPPO (Chairperson of Justice for Domestic Workers UK – from India)
We gather today to celebrate the International Domestic Workers Day. It was June 16, 2011 when the International Convention 189 on domestic workers was voted. Every year we honor and recognize the many contributions that domestic workers make to our economy and around the world.
This is also to celebrate the accomplishments of Justice for Domestic Workers and the global movement ofdomestic workers. To date, we now have 22 countries that have ratified the ILO Convention 189.
This is also to remind the UK Government of the urgent need to restore the rights of domestic workers they removed in 2012, leaving domestic workers in abusive system of exploitative employment. We re-affirm our strong call for the UK Government to ratify the ILO C189 now! J4DW continues to fight for the dignity and recognition of domestic workers. We are mostly women – women who clean your homes, take care of your children, care for the elderly, and help build families that make up our society.
DOMESTIC WORKERS PROVIDE LOVE AND CARE, FREE OF HATE AND HARM. NO MATTER WHAT WORK WE DO, WHERE WE LIVE, WHAT WE LOOK LIKE, WHERE WE PRAY, OR WHO WE LOVE – WE ARE ALL CONNECTED.
Today, we also pay respect, and spread peace and love to our Labour MP Jo Cox, and to the victims of the Orlando shooting. It is our desire to stop hate and stand for love. When acts of cruelty happen in any of our communities, we all must respond with care and action. That is the work that we do, and the values we uphold as domestic workers.
We thank you all for your support. Let us all unite and work together for a more caring and just society to make our world a better one.
MESSAGE BY ROWENA RIMPAS (from the Philippines) Justice for Domestic Workers UK
My name is Rowena Rimpas.
I am a mother of 5 children.
My youngest as only 8 months old when I left to work in Qatar.
I was feeding my baby with water sweeter with sugar
as I couldn’t afford to buy milk.
While my other children could only eat once a day.
Each time they cried, I knew they were hungry.
Hunger that pushed me to work abroad.
It was painful to leave my children,
but it’s even more painful to watch them cry from hunger.
For 14 years I was trapped in Qatar.
I lived in fear and isolated from the outside world.
Lonely and alone – living away from my children.
Coming here to the UK renewed my hope and my wishes to start a new life.
But the system here in the UK has put me in another cage.
A cage that controls us wherever we go and with whatever we do.
I’m tired of hiding, of being treated as a criminal for a crime I never committed.
Being a member of Justice for Domestic Workers has given me more courage
to be able to be here with you today
and speak out.
I would like to appeal to each and everyone to support our fight
so our rights would be restored.
Like you I am also a worker.
And like many women and mothers, I also deserve to be free
and be reunited with my children.