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Domestic helps returning to city

Published : 19 Aug 2020 09:42 PM | Updated : 07 Sep 2020 10:44 PM

In the wake of improved recovery rate in corona cases, housemaids, who left the city due to Covid-19, have started returning to their respective workplaces in the capital.

Grappling with increasing financial woes, domestic helps and well as their employers see it necessary to adapt to new normal. The deadly coronavirus led to departure of a large number of people from different walks of life including domestic workers from the capital Dhaka.

As the situation is seeing a recovery rate of 57.3% in COVID cases many housemaids are returning back, some employerstold this to The Bangladesh Post.

Power and Participation Research Center (PPRC) and BRAC Institute of Governance and Development (BIGD) survey report indicates in this corona onslaught 54% of housemaids have lost their job across the country.

The report also highlighted that, domestic workers have lost the highest number of workers during the corona period. There are about six lakh domestic workers in the country now.

On March 28, Samina Begum, 43, a housemaid from Azimpur area went to Rangpur as her employer told due to corona her chores will remain off.

However, Samina got back her job on 14th August as the overall Covid-19 situation showing downward infection trend across the country.

Talking to The Bangladesh Post over the phone she said, “Due to corona I went home. I have been working for more than ten years in the capital but such worse situation never appeared. Alhamdulillah I got back my job and returned to the capital.” Likewise, Shahiduzzaman Sarwar, a private bank employee living in Mirpur echoed similar regarding his housemaid, adding,“ Our housemaid Aklima came back this week sensing the infection ratio coming down in Dhaka. Corona was spreading in a spree at the beginning of April and lockdown was imposed. I asked our maid to come back from village.”

“It was a tough time for all of us. But I paid the full amount of money via bKash, a mobile banking service, as she has no other income sources”, he added.

Talking to The Bangladesh Post, male hostel member in DhanmondiSobhanbagh area Ratul Khan said, “In our hostel, we had three cases of corona infection. Alhamdulillah, all (infected mates) recovered within 17 days. Later we called back our housemaid earlier of August, as she went back to the village in fear of corona.”

Public health expert Dr. Ahmed Hussain sees this return of housemaid as a notion of returning back to normalcy. He said, “We don’t have an effective vaccine available till now. So we have to adapt to the new normal to continue our life and livelihood. Housemaids coming back to capital are a good sign for all of us.”

“Not just for bachelors, adults and working peoples,housemaids are required in the city due to hurriedness nature of the city,” he added.

Thus, housemaids must follow health guidelines. Their employer can provide them enough knowledge and safety gears, he added.

‘The coronavirus has wreaked havoc on our economy. As a result of the corona, a large section of the population has suddenly become unemployed,especially the poor and low-income people,” said Abul Hossain, acting coordinator at the Domestic Workers' Rights Network Bangladesh (DWRN). 

He also said that small traders, skilled and unskilled workers have lost the jobs most. Women in any profession have faced much more difficulties than men. For example, in June, more than half of the female domestic workers could not find any work, but now they are coming back, which is a positive sign, he added.