SINGAPORE – Throughout next month, domestic helpers here will be able to enjoy activities and maids services specially organised to thank them for their contributions.

Helper Appreciation Month is a new initiative organised by parenting website Sassy Mama Singapore – extending its previous one-day event to a full month to raise awareness of maids services working conditions, their sacrifices, and their social and legal challenges.

SINGAPORE – Throughout next month, domestic helpers here will be able to enjoy activities and services specially organised to thank them for their contributions.

Helper Appreciation Month is a new initiative organised by parenting website Sassy Mama Singapore – extending its previous one-day event to a full month to raise awareness of maids’ working conditions, their sacrifices, and their social and legal challenges.

Sassy Mama senior editor Kate McFarlane said she hopes to see the month become part of the annual calendar – like Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October, and Movember in November, which focuses on men’s health.

“It’s not focused on pulling down any person, organisation or government. It’s about raising the barometer of collective goodness, and drawing out the best of willing people,” said Ms McFarlane.

“As a parenting website, we feel it’s really important to set this example for our children.”

A similar initiative has been held in Hong Kong since 2015, and the resident who started it, Mr Steve Chitty, approached Sassy Mama to see how it could be done in Singapore.

May was chosen, as it includes Labour Day on May 1, Mother’s Day on the second Sunday, the United Nations International Day of Families on May 15 and Kindness Day SG on May 24.

There will be four themed weeks with different services and activities available.

May 3 to 10 will be Healthcare Week, offering health screenings, mammograms, eye examinations and discounted iron tests.

May 10 to 17 is Gratitude Week, with $10 manicures, free prepaid SIM cards and discounted “balikbayan” boxes. The boxes contain gifts sent home by Filipinos based outside their country.

May 17 to 24 will be Education Week, with special rates for registration for courses such as financial planning, first aid, eldercare and beauty and cosmetology.

Finally, May 24 to 31 will be Fun week, with activities including free gym sessions with social enterprise FreeSpirits and a photography walk around Singapore.

The month will end with a party on June 1 at the Australian International School. Over 300 people attended the party last year.

Domestic helper Mayrhose Coronado, 33, who is from the Philippines and has worked in Singapore for nine years, is most interested in the financial education classes.

“It is crucial to know how to handle your own money and to start saving before you plan to go back to your home country,” she said.

She is also looking forward to organising the photography walk for fellow helpers, to “share what I’ve learned about photography and to share these astonishing places in Singapore’s older neighbourhoods”.

Asked how else Singaporeans can show their appreciation to domestic helpers, Ms Coronado said hearing words such as “thank you” and “please”, or “good morning” with a smile, would be nice.

“I do believe that a little kindness goes a long way,” she said.

new initiative organised by parenting website Sassy Mama Singapore – extending its previous one-day event to a full month to raise awareness of maids’ working conditions, their sacrifices, and their social and legal challenges.

Sassy Mama senior editor Kate McFarlane said she hopes to see the month become part of the annual calendar – like Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October, and Movember in November, which focuses on men’s health.

“It’s not focused on pulling down any person, organisation or government. It’s about raising the barometer of collective goodness, and drawing out the best of willing people,” said Ms McFarlane.

“As a parenting website, we feel it’s really important to set this example for our children.”

A similar initiative has been held in Hong Kong since 2015, and the resident who started it, Mr Steve Chitty, approached Sassy Mama to see how it could be done in Singapore.

May was chosen, as it includes Labour Day on May 1, Mother’s Day on the second Sunday, the United Nations International Day of Families on May 15 and Kindness Day SG on May 24.

There will be four themed weeks with different services and activities available.

May 3 to 10 will be Healthcare Week, offering health screenings, mammograms, eye examinations and discounted iron tests.

May 10 to 17 is Gratitude Week, with $10 manicures, free prepaid SIM cards and discounted “balikbayan” boxes. The boxes contain gifts sent home by Filipinos based outside their country.

May 17 to 24 will be Education Week, with special rates for registration for courses such as financial planning, first aid, eldercare and beauty and cosmetology.

Finally, May 24 to 31 will be Fun week, with activities including free gym sessions with social enterprise FreeSpirits and a photography walk around Singapore.

The month will end with a party on June 1 at the Australian International School. Over 300 people attended the party last year.

Domestic helper Mayrhose Coronado, 33, who is from the Philippines and has worked in Singapore for nine years, is most interested in the financial education classes.

“It is crucial to know how to handle your own money and to start saving before you plan to go back to your home country,” she said.

She is also looking forward to organising the photography walk for fellow helpers, to “share what I’ve learned about photography and to share these astonishing places in Singapore’s older neighbourhoods”.

Asked how else Singaporeans can show their appreciation to domestic helpers, Ms Coronado said hearing words such as “thank you” and “please”, or “good morning” with a smile, would be nice.

“I do believe that a little kindness goes a long way,” she said.

Remember when Mom wore a frilly apron, kept the home sparkling and free of dust, mopped the floors on her knees and washed the clothes, then hung them on the line?

Well, times have changed.Now more than 50 percent of the women in this country work, and while keeping a clean home is still important, many women just don’t have the time to do the type of thorough cleaning they would like to.

Dana Openshaw and Dixie Edwards know just what it’s like to need some extra help around the house. One day while Openshaw was reading a U.S. News & World Report, she saw a feature on franchises. One franchise featured was Merry Maids, a national home cleaning firm.

“We felt there was a real need for professional home cleaning services here in Utah County,” Openshaw said. So the two women inquired about the Merry maids services

Before they knew it, they had signed a contract and were on their way to Omaha for training.

“We thought we knew how to clean,” Openshaw said, “But we learned how to really clean. Everything was computerized. We even learned how to clean by watching training videos.”

So, with a vacuum in one hand and a dust cloth in the other, Openshaw and Edwards opened the first Utah County branch of Merry Maids in September.

Merry Maids provides a free private in-house estimate on cleaning. Workers clean in teams of twos or threes depending on the amount and type of work they are hired to do.

“We deep clean every room, and every room we clean we clean from the ceiling down. We vacuum and dust and if requested will lemon oil the furniture,” Openshaw said. “But where we really shine is in the bathroom. We clean, sanitize and deodorize. We clean toilets, light fixtures. We even clean floors on our knees. Our girls are given knee pads to wear for the job.”

In just one month Merry Maids of Utah County has more than doubled the amount of business the home office predicted it would have. “Right now we are pricing cleaning jobs on four to five homes a day. Nearly 76 percent of those are sales,” Openshaw said.

They don’t do carpets and windows, but they do subcontract those projects to qualified businesses.

“Money Magazine has rated Merry Maids as the number one home cleaning franchise in the U.S.,” Openshaw said. “Why shouldn’t we have them in the number one community in the U.S.?”

Openshaw says they call their cleaning a good Saturday cleaning. They use special chemicals, machinery and training methods brought from the home office.

“We believe we clean better than the customer would clean,” she said. “Our customers even say we do more.”

For further information call Dana Openshaw or Dixie Edwards at Merry Maids, 377-0303. Their office is located at 430 N. University Ave.