Life in Singapore with a young family sometimes requires some pretty nifty skill sets, especially when it comes to keeping on top of our kids’ demands and our busy adult schedules. The juggle is real, people, and since we can’t be in a zillion places at the same time, having a trusty assistant to help steer us through the parenting minefield is totally essential.
Step forward our amazing helpers! We think it’s fair to say that employing a Foreign Domestic Worker (FDW), fondly known to most of our kids as Aunty, is absolutely one of the biggest upsides to living here in Singapore. Whether you are a stay-at-home mum, a working mother, or something in between, having an extra pair of eyes at the water playground, extra hands at the soft play centre, and extra legs when you are trying to race between kids at different schools, is a godsend. But did you know there are tons of great domestic helper courses in Singapore that can help your helper become even more awesome?
Helpers make our lives a whole lot easier, that’s for sure. But how can we, in some small way, do the same for them? We’ve found some fabulous courses designed for helpers that we think FDWs might love. Classes and lessons that will help her embrace and enhance her personal and professional skill sets for not only life with your family, but to help her build a future for life beyond that as an FDW.
So, whether she has a dream of opening her own business, needs some brushing up with her English or fancies making her own clothes, we’ve found something for all of our wonderful right-hand women…
MULTI-SKILL SCHOOLS: COOKING, SEWING, COMPUTER LITERACY & SMALL BUSINESS
Aidha believes in “sustainable futures through financial education”. This micro-business school organises domestic helper courses in Singapore that cover important life skills for when your helper is ready to move back home. Your helper can pick up tips on developing good saving habits, preparing for future small businesses, and learn how to make sound investments. Classes are held on Sundays over a period of nine months and topics covered include entrepreneurship, computer literacy, business management and finance.
Aidha, United World College South East Asia, Dover Campus, 1207 Dover Road, Singapore 139654; www.aidha.org
Foreign Domestic Workers Association for Skills Training (FAST)
With locations all over Singapore, and a heap of great subsidised classes to choose from, this charity-funded association ensures your helper will not only pick up some fab new accomplishments, but also some FAST new friends. Classes that are currently available include cooking, infant care, foot reflexology, English language, stress management, baking, computer literacy and beauty-preneurship.
FAST, various locations; www.fast.org.sg
Philippine Bayanihan Society Singapore (PBSS)
Filipino helpers who fancy bagging some new skills can join courses ranging from martial arts to dressmaking at the PBSS. Programmes run every second Sunday and classes include cool choices such as cosmetology and aromatherapy!
PBSS, 43 Pasir Panjang Road, Singapore 118503; www.bayanihancentre.org.sg
Mujahidah Learning Centre
Set up in 2005, and now running seven different courses for around 500 Indonesian, Indian and Sri Lankan helpers, the Mujahidah Learning Centre offers classes such as, international cookery courses, sewing skills, English lessons and computer literacy programmes.
Mujahidah Learning Centre, Mujahidin Mosque, 590 Stirling Road, Singapore 148952, p. 6473 7400 (no website)
Archdiocesan Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People (ACMI)
The ACMI (thank goodness this one has an acronym) has courses open to any nationality and prices start from just $90 for 10 lessons. FDWs can try out fun courses related to baking, computers, hairdressing, caregiving, speaking everyday English, small business enterprise classes and even guitar lessons. This centre is popular, so we advise you to book as early as possible.
ACMI, Agape Village, 7a Toa Payoh Lorong 8, Singapore 319264; www.acmi.org.sg
Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics (HOME)
The HOME Academy was set up in order to provide training and support to domestic workers of all nationalities. Weekly Sunday classes offer programmes in English, Mandarin, computer skills, cooking, dressmaking and financial education. Your helper will love the HOMEly feeling of the place which is also a great place to make some new connections if your helper is new to the country.
HOME, 304 Orchard Road, #06-22 Lucky Plaza, Singapore 238863; www.home.org.sg
International Management School (IMS)
The International Management School offers part time courses (often run on a Sunday) in all sorts of useful subjects, including business management, civil engineering, care giving to pastry and culinary design. The best part? Costs are kept low to make sure the diplomas are accessible to everyone.
International Management School, 101 Kitchener Road #03-11 Jalan Besar Plaza, Singapore 208511; www.ims.edu.sg
Whether your helper is a total novice in the kitchen, or already proving herself to be a bit of a Nigella, Expat Kitchen has cooking and baking courses suitable for all levels of ability. Courses range from one-off classes with a special focus (current classes include ‘packed lunch ideas’, ‘cooking with quinoa’ and ‘Saigon street food’) to full-on intermediate courses where your helper can really get to grips with cooking up a healthy, veritable feast. Watch out, Jamie Oliver et al!
Expat Kitchen, 9 Norris Road, Little India 208252; www.expat-kitchen.com
Lotta’s Western Cooking Class
Lotta’s hands-on workshops are ideal if your helper needs to cook up your Western faves in your kitchen regularly. Qualified international chef Lotta, will teach a maximum of six girls in each session to create nutritious, delicious fare and students will also get tips on kitchen essentials including food hygiene, grocery shopping plans and how to store food safely. By the end of the course your helper will be whipping up perfect pancakes and lovely lasagnes like a pro.
Lotta’s Western Cooking Class, 121 Lor K Telok Kurau 425762, www.facebook.com/cookwesternfood
Deliciously Healthy Helpers’ Workshop
Nutrition guru Liza Rowan, and Carrotsticks and Cravings author, Terri-Anne Leske, have joined forces to bring their extensive knowledge of healthy ingredients and delicious recipes to helpers who are keen to learn more about cooking, meal planning and wellbeing. Helpers will be inspired to not only take better care of themselves, but also how to read nutrition labels to get to grips with sugar, fat and salt levels in the food they are preparing. They will also find out which cooking oils they should be using, and how to serve up a healthy dish with the right portion sizes in mind. Participants can expect to not only pick up valuable lessons to use in the kitchen, but also to have a heap of fun along the way.
Deliciously Healthy Helpers’ Workshop, Rochelie Drive, Tanglin; www.healthandvitality.com.sg
Road to India
If homemade Indian food gets your mouth watering, then why not send your helper along to a one-off cooking class with local mummy, Pooja Kamath Manohar? Pooja runs classes for helpers out of her kitchen and will guide your FDW through a host of delish Indian dishes so they can bring a taste of India to your dining table. Materials and recipes are provided, and the girls get to eat their taste their dishes together after it’s done. HoneyKids’ readers signing up their helpers will receive a $10 discount on the price (usual price $70), so be sure to mention us when making your booking!
Road to India, Anchorvale Drive, Senkang; www.facebook.com/groups/843017725757398/
FIRST AID AND CHILDCARE
Mother & Child
For those of us who leave our tots in the care of our helpers, it certainly helps to know that they are in capable hands. The Mother & Child First Aid for Helpers class covers infant and child care essentials such as CPR, accident prevention, first aid and emergency procedures. Not only will your helper be learning worthwhile skills, this course will also give parents peace of mind. Read HoneyKids Editor Selina’s account of resuscitating her own baby and you’ll understand why.
Mother & Child, 163 Tanglin Road, Singapore 247933; www.motherandchild.com.sg
First Aid Tuition
These private courses are run by founder Anne Greetham, a fully-qualified American Red Cross Instructor and a Registered General Nurse from St. Thomas’ Hospital, London. The Concise First Aid and CPR course, designed for parents, helpers and babysitters teaches infant, child and adult CPR with the use of a manikin. You’ll get a manual to keep, and the course can take place in your home. If you want to qualify for American Red Cross certification, sign up for the Full CPR and First Aid course.
Parentlink offers an invaluable four-hour first aid course for helpers which covers emergency situations involving poisoning, fractures, bleeding, burns and more, as well as teaching CPR and putting in place an emergency plan.
Parentlink, 32 Robin Close, Singapore 258311; www.parentlink.com.sg
Conscious Parenting Training
While there might not be any spoonfuls of sugar, flying umbrellas or chimney sweeping involved, the Conscious Parenting Training: Mary Poppins Training for helpers looks pretty supercalifragilisticexpialidocious to us. FDWs will learn how to play and interact positively with babies, toddlers and older kids, plus pick up tips on implementing conscious discipline with kiddos in their care when they are being less than their usual angelic selves.
Conscious Parenting Training, Serendipity Centre, #02-05, 51 Waterloo Street, Singapore 187969; www.consciousparentingtraining.com
Lead image courtesy of: Aidha
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