Dalia Deals: Housemaid Horrors, still necessary?

There is currently a search for baby Annabel who was kidnapped by a housemaid in Kenya.

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The horror stories continue after the shocking footage of the Ugandan nanny, ironically named Jolly Tumuhiirwe, tortured a 18 month old baby girl. The video is too shocking to share. These are the stories we know about, there are more heartbreaking episodes that make me wonder should the era of the housemaid stop??

I was brought up by one ‘aunty’ who has lasted the years. Many people are shocked because it’s unheard of. A household could go through up to 6 maids a year because various reasons mainly to do with their personal lives of the workload.

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Captioned – Modern Day Slavery

My mom tells me this story about how her intuition saved the lives of my brother. One brother got burned by the maid by hot porridge. Mum noticed her baby was different and decided to bath her child only to discover burn marks. That maid got fired and mum then decided to wash her baby everyday when she came from work to inspect her child.

These are typical stories with very young children who can’t defend themselves. There are more from children who can speak up for themselves but few know about. I have heard stories of maids trying on teenage girls clothes including underwear but the most damage is done to our young boys.

A very enlightened young man highlighted the point that teenage boys are being taught about sexuality by our housemaids. They learn unhealthy dynamics of relationships from the young housegirls we let into our houses where they are ultimately the boss. For some boys these are the first sexual experiences that both parties are not in a hurry to tell parents. These stories are shared at school and at times shared with fathers who may express pride in their son “growing up”. Is this right? It is inherently child abuse, or paedophilia but there has been no whistle-blowing to date. Then we wonder why society suffers unhealthy relationships, it starts in our homes. How many households are dealing with extramarital affairs with maids? How many sons have impregnated maids?

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The house girl issue is reaching mainstream media.

The impossible housemaid – Kansiime Anne – watch here

The many stories of maids putting juju in the food of their employers or specifically the mother of the house. That strained relationship between ‘madame’ and ‘sisi’ which I believe spurs the violence and misconduct. Some maids are dehumanised and feel somewhat abused by the activities they are asked to do with the amount they get paid. I am especially interested in this housemaid situation because I wrote my dissertarion on the well being of child domestice workers in Egypt, apart of the Gender lens working groups for the 2011 EADI conference, read more here. There is more to the story to those criminalised in the housemaid world. Was Jolly the Ugandan nanny acting out of frustration? Jolly, dubbed the monster maid, was given a chance to say her side of the story..
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She says she was beaten by the dad till she bled… was that called for? More on the story here

Some maids come from backgrounds of difficult circumsaltances, could they actually need some sort of counselling? Does this house girl culture perpetuate poverty? Does it lead to the destruction of society? Should it stop?

Please share your views about this issue that is so close to home for most of us.

Thank you for reading, lets get a-tweeting (@dali_lamah)

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Hashtag Trends: #MyFatStory – Hated Katie Hopkins hates fat

Funny how after a season where you a commercially coerced to binge without a thought all the shocking shows about weight gain and morbid obesity are shown all in a row, but I digress.

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Last night #MyFatStory was trending in the UK and the highest rated programme on paid TV last night. The nation tuned in  not because people were moved by an emotional journey of weight loss after weight gain. No. It was the opinionated self-confessed FATTIST voted the second worst person by Vice, after Vladimir Putin, deliberately making herself “fat” (at size 12) to lose it all again to prove that anyone can lose weight.

Katie met her local rugby team in her little 2 piece for body advice (as one does) before the eating challenge.

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We were all shocked at the guys’ reactions and it hit Katie hard.. we can see it on her face.

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Katie met with this American lady and her boyfriend who celebrated her body type. Katie was so rude she was kicked out their house…

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People tuned in and wanted to see her kick off basically. I think we enjoy reacting to someone so brash and rude about other people. Viewers were armed with the controversial quote that she would not hire someone who is over-weight because she wouldn’t ‘keep up’.
Here is an interview of her defending her point of view…

Instead of battling between throwing up or throwing tomatoes at the TV because of her shocking quips but we end up seeing her human side and at times feeling sorry for her.

An emotional video diary entry… have a listen about why she’s whining.

After an intrusive session with a psychologist, she realises that she has issues and that she has been unreasonably harsh on people who struggle with weight issues. We await the second show… not sure what to expect. In my opinion, she looks better with the extra pudge.

Here’s a sneak peek… has Katie met her match?

#MyFatStory is a great hashtag and TLC UK have done a great job with this social media campaign, seems like the first of many to come. I was avidly following the hashtag and the amount of abuse towards Katie because she’s abusive was hard to watch. One person pointed out that as much as Katie is hard to like, people can be ruthless and equally as detestable. Another person confessed that she was watching because she wanted to find out tips about how to gain weight… my deepest secret was revealed. Well I owned this secret by retweeting it. I became undone, it was time for me to face the woman in the mirror and talk about my #MyFatStory…

Modern Day Slavery and Modern Day Egypt

The two top stories in the news agenda have encouraged me to write about my experience and research into those two aspects, these comments are entirely my own. I was in Cairo during the protests against Mubarak and subsequently wrote my final year dissertation on child domestic workers in Egypt.

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Egyptian Arab Spring and Modern Day Slavery

In 2011, both modern day situations were foreign to me but I found myself immersed in their dialogue and urged to participate in varying ways. I barely knew Mubarak but after 3 weeks of being in the country my passion for his removal grew. I witnessed abject poverty and wondered how a growing economy could have such destitution. So much so, families would send their little girls (usually) to work as child domestic workers. I did my semester abroad at the American University of Cairo where the wealthiest send their children for tertiary education. I carried out a survey and a sizeable number of participants either had, knew someone who had a child domestic worker. Their little hands indentured in labour difficult for a person much older at the expense of their education. I visited a centre for street children and they all could not understand English but could understand the value an of an education. Their rights trampled on for the sake of survival, many children (more than anyone can count) are clandestine victims of a poor social system.

I had a dissertation to write because of Mubarak’s actions, or lack thereof. I heard many heart-wrenching stories about little girls facing exploitation and sexual abuse because it was ingrained in Egypt’s formal institution that it was lawful to allow children to work. It was the government’s fault why children found themselves in this situation so the government had to go. People were frustrated so they took to the streets, some lost their lives fighting what they believed in. Massacred for starting a movement in favour of the removal of injustice. Those were lost in vain, Egyptian Judicial system has shown that injustice remains. So for those who still have strength to unite in Tahrir Square will fight once more, in a country where dying for justice holds no weight and perpertrators can be released with blood on their hands and not be held accountable.

The UK and Modern Day Slavery

I used “I am Slave” for my dissertation because it portrayed what modern day slavery in societies such as Britain would look like. It was reported today by the home office that it is more common than expected. I have heard stories of Zimbabweans who have had their passports seized and forced to work in terrible constraining conditions. This problem is not unique to the African context but is widespread. This revelation has been met with backlash at David Cameron’s plans to being stringent to European immigrants. Anti-slavery charities have warned that such measures will result in an increase of slavery.

Like the Egyptian context, will there be a revolt of the Government and its stringent measures causing the common man to struggle to such lengths? Food banks are on the increase, child services have failed to protect their beneficiaries and poverty has become rife in modern day Britain. Charities that predominantly focussed on Third world development have reverted back to grass roots programmes to improve the quality of life of British children. The system has failed to protect the most vulnerable.

Many have called for #CameronMustGo which is slogan that was trending on Twitter. 575 683 tweets in the last 30 days stated many reasons and expressed various frustrations, frankly people have had enough of the current government’s aloof attitude to those who are finding it difficult to make ends meet on a day to day.

So should people just sit back while children with mental health issues fail to receive appropriate assistance? Is it acceptable to watch more & more programmes about child carers and children who live in poverty? I say a protests in Trafalgar Square are in order. For the nation’s children, for the Nation’s poor, for the failing system, for justice.