A 52-year-old Indonesian domestic worker who has been looking after a Singaporean family of six for nearly two decades and is highly respected as their second mother will be presented the Foreign Domestic Worker of the Year award late this month.
Sri Wahyuni, from Surabaya, Indonesia, came to Singapore and started working for Umi Saleha, now 49, around 18 years ago because the working mother’s 18-month-old son had epilepsy and needed to be attended at all times, the Shin Min Daily News reported.
Wahyuni takes care of the boy, who has been wheelchair-bound since the age of nine, in almost every detail of his life from assisted feeding, showering and dressing to accompanying him to school.
The job in Street 62, Choa Chu Kang, in Singapore’s Western Region, is getting tougher, said Saleha, as it requires Wahyuni to stay on guard for her now-21-year-old son who has deteriorating health due to several strokes. A few other family members have also fallen ill and depended on the worker’s care.
“She is genuinely caring for my boy and putting him on top of her own safety,” Saleha said. She recalled that one time, the home microwave became faulty and began emitting smoke, and the first response of Wahyuni was to get the boy into a bedroom, carrying the 70-kilogram boy on her back to get him to safety.
Saleha’s 29-year-old daughter also spoke highly of Wahyuni, calling her the second mother for the entire family.
“She is an excellent cook who prepares delicious and suitable dishes for every one of us. My little brother is a picky eater.”
Wahyuni told the Lianhe Wanbao (Singapore) that she took pride and joy in her job looking after the epileptic boy and other family members over the years because she always treated them like her own family, and they did the same toward her.
The Foreign Domestic Worker of the Year award will be presented at ITE (Institute of Technical Education) College Central on October 21, during Singapore’s ninth Foreign Domestic Worker Day, which is co-organized by the Foreign Domestic Worker Association for Social Support and Training (FAST) and the Association of Employment Agencies (Singapore).