Sri Lankan Jayawardena Mudiyanselage Sittamma Jayawardena has received the Foreign Domestic Worker of the Year award in Singapore, which comes with a cash prize of $2,000, the Straits Times reported.
On top of household chores, the 60-year-old Sri Lankan cared for her employer’s bedridden wife from 1997 till her death last year. She would bathe the woman, change her diapers and urine catheter, feed her every few hours through a nose tube, administer medication, and even take the initiative to groom her with a haircut.
Said her employer Chua Choo Hock, 76, who is retired: “The family is always thankful and appreciative of her dedication to my wife and our family… She has become more of a family member to us now after so many years.”
Ms Jayawardena intends to save part of her cash prize, and give the rest to her 100-year-old mother who lives in Sri Lanka.
Foreign Domestic Worker Day, organised by the Foreign Domestic Worker Association for Social Support and Training (Fast) and the Association of Employment Agencies (Singapore), drew more than 7,000 people this year who watched stage performances and took part in activities such as lucky draws.
The annual competition saw more than four times as many entries compared with last year. Of the 442 entries, 341 were for the foreign domestic worker category.
The first and second runners-up in the foreign domestic worker category took home $1,500 and $1,000 respectively, while the five merit winners each received $500. The employers received certificates.
Since its inception in 2005, Fast has provided subsidised training programmes for about 25,000 foreign domestic workers every year. It also runs a helpline and clubhouse for domestic workers and provides avenues for legal aid.