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Every Sunday for six weeks, we shadowed Robina Navato, a 44-year-old Filipino domestic worker who has been volunteering for three years at HOME’s help-desk. What began as a final-year project to make a short film about Robina’s volunteer experience became, in the end, an eye-opening experience for us. We heard first-hand accounts of the abuse – emotional or verbal, and sometimes physical – that some domestic workers suffer. The stories were both shocking and sad.
We filmed Robina at the help-desk, at her church where she has a close network of friends, and also zoomed in on the precious pockets of time when she gets to chat with her family, especially her grandchildren. The result was Offdays, a short film that showed us that domestic workers are also humans too, deserving of respect, dignity and rights. Too often, we forget that they make the decision to leave the comfort of their homes in search of better work opportunities to support their families.
The film ends with Robina reciting her moving poem, “The Cry of the Hidden”. We are grateful and honoured to have spent time with Robina, and we will continue to spread the word about treating domestic workers with fairness and dignity. ~ Jasmine Koh & Jora Yuan Shai
Jasmine & Jora are engineering & communications students at Nanyang Technological University. They filmed and directed “Offdays” as part of their documentary-making module in their final-year project.