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Help the Helpers Programme

Teachers are reservoirs from which, through the process of education, the students draw the water of life – BABA

“Help the Helpers” is one of the newest initiatives of Sri Sathya Sai Society. It is a youth-driven programme that imparts knowledge & skills to domestic helpers working in Singapore. Sri Sathya Sai Society launched this programme to give the domestic helpers self confidence through developing their skills in conversational English. 

Several women move to Singapore from impoverished regions of Asia to work as domestic helpers (maids) in Singapore homes. They look after the household chores, children, elderly, cooking etc. at the homes. Many of them have not had access to much education. Even those with some access, they had it in their local languages. When they move from their rural locales to a modern, English-speaking metropolis of Singapore, it presents a culture-shock to them. They find it difficult communicating with others, understanding instructions, and even using domestic appliances at home. Since they work alone in individual homes, they tend to become homesick. 

Several youth volunteers have come together to run the Help the Helpers programme, with guidance from several senior members of the Society. Since all the students are women, only women volunteers teach the classes, and the men provide support like administration, logistics, IT support etc. The teachers are given workshops to help them with teaching techniques.

By Bhagawan’s grace, since the time Sai Society started the Help the Helpers programme in 2016, it has been a tremendous help to these women. Since then, until the pandemic struck, over 1,000 women have received English and basic IT skills training at the Sai Centre. As the students leave home early to come to the Sai Centre, they are served lunch upon arrival by the Sai volunteers, as part of the Narayana Seva programme. The food is lovingly cooked by volunteers. During class days, a lady volunteer doctor is available for consultation in case they need medical guidance. No prescription drugs are administered, as they are under the care of their employers.

English classes are conducted based on the levels of the students, suiting their pace of learning. IT classes are conducted using the latest MS-Office software, with lab sessions where students are provided access to individual laptop computers to learn. In addition, students also learn art and yoga as optional subjects. Students are provided everything free of charge, including stationery kits. Thus, they have an opportunity to utilise their off-day to enhance their learning. Besides the learning, simply interacting with hundreds of students in similar jobs makes them feel comfortable and at home. Ever since the classes began, there has been a surge in students wanting to enrol. A typical batch is about 200+ students, and they are divided into several classes. At the end of a term, the students who meet the requirements receive a certificate at a graduation event. You may see photos from the recent graduation event on 9th April 2023 here: https://photos.app.goo.gl/FTj4XZb1fXjzVhCC8. A report on the graduation event is at https://saisociety.org.sg/2023/04/hth-graduation-2023/.

Students are encouraged to continue into the next batch if they are interested in continuing their learning. A new term began in June 2023, and will finish in December 2023. Admissions will then open for the following batch, likely in January 2024.

This is entirely a volunteer-driven initiative driven by the Sai Youth from Sai Society. Anyone is welcome to join as a volunteer to help with the initiative – even those who do not know about Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. You may see this short video on the programme here: https://youtu.be/gClL1YhGCZ4.

If you wish to know more about the programme, or wish to be a volunteer teacher, please write to [email protected]. Since the students are all women, we allow only women volunteers to teach the classes.

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