Our Story: The Life Story of Domestic Worker in Indonesia

“This is my story, then and now” is a book which is a collection of writings by Domestic Workers (PRT) that was published on Konde.co throughout 2021. The book was published by Konde.co with JALA PRT and supported by the Kolaboraksi Pijar Nusantara Publisher.

Tell and write. These two magic words brought together the Konde.co team, who worked in a journalism factory every day, to women domestic workers (PRT) who were members of various domestic workers unions, who worked in their employers’ homes.

This book was launched on November 21, 2021, as an effort to record the life of domestic workers in Indonesia. Some domestic workers who graduated from junior high school and do not know where to go, migrate to the city and become domestic workers.

Some become single parents and face the harshness of life in Jakarta, This also is experienced by Dora Herta Lisna. A difficult life also makes Mila Sari have to eat from picking up leftover vegetables at the Kebayoran market, Jakarta which she collects and then cooks the next day for her children.

Echoing the voice of domestic workers is not an easy job when care work such as domestic workers has not yet received proper recognition and appreciation. No wonder if the work done by female domestic workers (PRT) is considered not essential work.

The term is misguided, gender bias, class bias, unskilled labor, workers who work in the domestic sphere are considered to have no skills so they deserve to be paid cheap wages and without guaranteed protection.

A total of 20 domestic workers from various domestic workers unions organized by JALA PRT tried to share their life journeys while working. Writing has become a medium of resistance for domestic workers by seizing a space that has been dominated by narratives that dismiss their contribution.

By writing, they show their faces, make sounds, and assert their existence. Through writing, domestic workers share all the stories of the ups and downs of life in a social system that considers their existence as if they do not exist.

When reading the articles written directly by domestic workers in this book, Konde.co then also made a mapping of the lives of domestic workers summarized in this book.

Konde.co found that domestic workers experienced repeated and almost equal patterns of oppression.

“Cheap wages, long working hours, sexual violence, child labor, work accidents, lay-offs, blasphemy,” said Marina Nasution from Konde.co.

Not only sad stories but there are also joy stories experienced by domestic workers. Successfully buying a house, opening a business, sending their children to higher education, having a lot of experience abroad, and a myriad of other achievements have opened the spirit of workers to survive. The stories they tell encourage Konde.co to create a simple data visualization and collect the top of mind contained in the writings of domestic workers.

This PRT writing is part of the work of domestic workers who have attended the PRT writing school which was initiated and organized by JALA PRT.

JALA PRT, Rumpun Tjoet Njak Dien, and SPRT Tunas Mulia have been organizing domestic workers since 1994 and initiated the School for Domestic Workers which was started in Yogyakarta and started in 2003. This school is an activity in replicating PRT schools (Sekolah Wawasan) in DKI Jakarta and 6 areas Another thing that was then until now held by JALA PRT every 2 weeks, writing is part of this domestic worker school as part of the tradition and one of the methods of struggle.

“Data shows that many domestic workers do not graduate from school, even though domestic workers have to work as the backbone of the family, then alternative education is a way to solve this problem: facing the world of work faced by domestic workers,” said JALA PRT Coordinator, Lita Anggraeni.

Other things, about the lack of recognition of domestic workers at work, inadequate working conditions: low wages, delayed wages, long working hours, not enough rest, no social security, no access to associations, violation of rights, and harassment, make domestic workers have to get alternative education to solve the problem.

So this education is not just formal education, but also advocacy education in carrying out struggles in the world of work. Jala PRT then makes it happen in PRT schools whose activities are: skill schools, advocacy schools, writing schools, etc.

Marina Nasution

Jurnalis televisi yang murtad dan kini mualaf di Konde.co Pengagum paradoks semesta, gemar membeli buku tapi lupa membaca.

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