SEALNet Project Singapore 2012

When: Saturday August 4, 2012 – Sunday August 19, 2012
Location: Singapore
Email: ps12 [at]
Project Leaders: Kylie Goh, Izzah Farzanah, Mike Phulsuksombati
Project Website:

Executive Summary

Approximately 206,000 women, mostly from the Philippines and Indonesia, are employed in Singaporean households as domestic workers. Despite living under the same roof as Singaporeans, they remain at the fringe of society, making them more vulnerable to mistreatment by both agents and employers.

To tackle this problem, our project aims to foster empathy by promoting the idea of a common, shared humanity – that in spite of cultural and economic differences, us human beings feel and want the same things. Just like us, foreign domestic workers leave behind their family and homes in order to seek out better life experiences for their children.

To this end, we will collaborate with local students and organizations to create an effective social media platform to:

1. Provide an avenue for the voices of foreign domestic workers to be heard;
2. Raise awareness of the challenges and experiences faced by foreign domestic workers;
3. Facilitate a shift towards a more inclusive and caring Singaporean society.

Community Challenge

Traditional divisions of gender roles have not evolved to keep up with changing demands on the Singaporean family, where both spouses have to work. In order to care for one’s family while contributing to the financial stability of the household, employing a domestic worker becomes a popular solution for many households.

The majority of domestic workers in Singapore come from foreign countries such as the Philippines and Indonesia, leaving behind their families in order to support their loved ones financially. Due to the non-traditional nature of their workplace where one’s living and working spaces are one and the same, many of them find themselves confronted by extreme loneliness. For some maids, their sense of isolation is further exacerbated by limited communication lines to home, demanding work hours (lack of a day-off) and lack of an institutional support system.

Ultimately, their challenges stem from the larger society forgetting that they too are people with dignity, dreams and despairs. Their stories are not heard, their backgrounds not understood, inadvertently leading to a perception that they are fundamentally different from us.

Through this project and long-term advocacy, we hope that a change in mindset can take root among the locals.


1. For foreign domestic workers:

  • Provide an avenue for their voices to be heard and understood.

2. For the society at large:

  • Raise awareness of the challenges and experiences faced by foreign domestic workers.
  • Facilitate a shift towards a more inclusive and caring society.

3. For local youth:

  • Empower them to translate compassion and empathy into action.
  • Teach them to discuss the issue in the broader context of human dignity and how it ties into other social issues.
  • Encourage them to harness their creativity in reaching out to a broader audience via social media platforms and Web 2.0/3.0 technology.


Exposure (visits to local non-profit organizations)

With the aim of equipping the team with the relevant knowledge and tools, the team will either conduct working visits to local organizations or invite their representatives for an interactive information session. During these visits/info sessions, the team will gain insight into the workings of the organization, their methodology and the current situation of foreign domestic workers in Singapore and in the ASEAN region.


With the aim of developing a tangible tool with which to raise awareness of the challenges faced by domestic workers issues in society at large, the college student team members and local high school mentees will collaborate in producing a video that illustrates their interest in domestic workers issues and promotes the issues to their communities. They can employ their creativity to direct their production in a way that would best impact their viewers.

In the process of making the video, they would not only learn how to work within a team and to employ their creativity, but also learn to empathize and gain a deeper awareness on the significance of domestic workers issues.

We plan to have a video-making workshop in order to equip the team with the skills necessary to create an outstanding end product.


With the aim of spreading the word about the project and creating a tangible, long-term impact, we shall install an exhibition at the end of the two weeks. During the opening ceremony of the exhibit, the video, which the team has been working on, will be officially revealed for the first time. We also hope to invite a keynote speaker. The exhibit shall discuss the issues tackled by the project, and take viewers through the experience of working on Project Singapore 2012.

Leadership Workshops

With the aim of empowering high school students with the leadership skills, we shall conduct leadership workshops. We hope to instill the service-leadership spirit in them as well as provide them with the right motivations and useful resources. At present, we plan for high school mentees to learn various leadership styles, public speaking, team-building, fundraising and networking/outreach skills. Some of our activities shall also be art-orientated and prompt students to step into others’ shoes and gain different perspectives, which shall be useful when working together. We are also considering using games to teach leadership skills, as they would have the added benefits of being fun and memorable. We hope to conduct leadership workshops in an engaging manner whereby the team is presented with a problem/case to solve which shall put their team-building and leadership skills into practice.

Local partner(s)

  • We will be working with Victoria Junior College (VJC) as our local school partner
  • We will confirm our partnership with the Association of Women for Action and Research (AWARE) and the Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics (HOME)

Team Member: Responsibilities & Skills


  • Participate in and contribute to all aspects of the project
  • Design and teach leadership workshops to local students
  • Promote awareness about the importance of human rights education

Skills Required

  • Multimedia editing skills (highly recommended, but not required)
  • Interest in human development, service, and leadership in the South East Asia region
  • An open mind and awareness of cultural sensitivities
  • Ability to work with people from different backgrounds
  • Interest in youth empowerment
  • Interest and experience in mentorship are recommended
  • Strong sense of commitment
  • Responsible and supportive team player