First centre for maids set to open
By KARIN BISHOP
THE first of seven centres for domestic helpers will open tomorrow at the Clementi Middle School in Fortress Hill.
The director of the Bayanihan Trust, Robert Corpuz, whose organisation is co-ordinating the establishment of the centres, said they hoped up to 200 domestic helpers would attend rather than go to their usual haunts around Statue Square.
The trust has organised an educational seminar for the helpers, covering such areas as social security benefits for domestic helpers in the Philippines and communication skills.
He said one of the aims of the centres would be to provide educational opportunities for maids.
However, some Filipina community workers have expressed doubts as to the effectiveness of the centres.
Pastor Charles McKnelly said it was unlikely the domestic helpers would want to spend their only day off in pursuing further education.
'These people work long hours cooped up inside for six days of the week so when they do have time off they don't want to spend it cooped up inside again,' he said.
Everything at the centre will be free except for lunch.
The Clementi Middle school is in a central location, five minutes walk from Fortress Hill MTR.
The shopping and food facilities of King's Road are nearby.
By the middle of next year, the trust plans to have seven centres open. Two of them, at the Chung Sing Benevolent Society Primary School in Kennedy Town and the Yiu Tak Chi Memorial School in Mongkok, will be open seven days a week from early next year.