Home Away from Home – Exploring the Emotional Journeys of Foreign Domestic Helpers

In many countries around the world, foreign domestic helpers form an integral part of households, providing essential support in managing daily tasks and caring for families. However, behind their role as caregivers lies a complex emotional journey, often marked by homesickness, isolation, and longing for their own families. Understanding these emotional experiences is crucial in recognizing the human dimension of their work and addressing the challenges they face. For foreign domestic helpers, leaving their homeland to work in a foreign country is often a decision driven by economic necessity. Many come from impoverished backgrounds, seeking better opportunities to support their families back home. However, the reality of living and working in a foreign land can be starkly different from their expectations. Homesickness is a prevalent emotion among foreign domestic helpers, as they grapple with being separated from their families and familiar surroundings. In a new country, they may encounter language barriers, cultural differences, and a sense of alienation, intensifying feelings of loneliness and longing for home.

Domestic Helpers

Simple activities like celebrating festivals or sharing meals with loved ones become distant memories, further accentuating their sense of displacement. Moreover, the nature of their work often exacerbates feelings of isolation. Domestic helpers typically live with their employers, blurring the boundaries between work and personal life. This constant proximity can lead to a lack of privacy and autonomy, amplifying their sense of being disconnected from their own identity and community. Additionally, the hierarchical dynamics within households may contribute to feelings of powerlessness and marginalization, further isolating them from the social fabric of their host country. Despite these challenges, foreign domestic helpers exhibit remarkable resilience and strength in navigating their emotional journeys. Many find solace in building supportive communities with fellow helpers, forming bonds based on shared experiences and mutual support. Through gatherings, religious activities, or online forums, they create spaces where they can freely express themselves, seek advice, and find comfort in solidarity. Furthermore, maintaining connections with their families back home becomes a lifeline for many foreign domestic helpers.

Regular communication through phone calls, video chats, or remittances serves as a vital link to their loved ones, offering emotional sustenance and motivation to endure the challenges they face abroad. These connections not only provide a source of emotional support but also reinforce their sense of purpose and responsibility in providing for their families’ well-being. In recognizing the emotional journeys of foreign domestic helpers, it is essential to address the systemic issues that contribute to their vulnerability and marginalization. Governments and employers must prioritize policies and practices that safeguard their rights, promote their well-being, and foster inclusive communities. This includes measures such as enforcing fair labor standards, providing access to education and training opportunities, and combating discrimination and social stigma. Moreover, fostering a culture of empathy and understanding is crucial in challenging stereotypes and biases surrounding domestic work. By acknowledging the humanity and dignity of 外傭續約, society can create more compassionate and inclusive spaces that value their contributions and honor their experiences. The emotional journeys of foreign domestic helpers reflect the complex intersection of economic necessity, cultural displacement, and resilience.