7th APRIL 2015 - Vol.XXXVIII No.018
Local News

Workshop for housemaids

A SPECIAL course designed to help housemaids come to terms with abuse and emotional trauma will take place in Bahrain this weekend.

Trained therapist and Bahrain resident Kelly Armatage was inspired to provide free advice after reading about the plight of domestic workers in Bahrain, some of whom try to commit suicide.

She is conducting a three-hour Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) workshop for housemaids suffering from any kind of emotional trauma on Friday.

Ms Armatage said she was moved to offer the course for 20 women due to the amount of cases in which housemaids are mistreated and assaulted and tried to commit suicide.

Two housemaids have committed suicide within the past week and Ms Armatage hopes the workshop will offer women the emotional support they need.

"I feel very passionate about this after continually reading about these terrible incidents," she told the GDN.

"For someone to get to the point where they are suicidal they go through a huge amount of negative thinking beforehand and this workshop aims to give them a tool for tackling such feelings.

"I used to give counselling to women being cared for at the embassies and at one embassy alone there were 60 homeless housemaids.

"One had a burn mark on her arm from an iron and some of their stories were absolutely heartbreaking.

"These women have no emotional support at all and I really want to do something to help them.

"I hope some of the women who are suffering come forward for help."

On Friday, an Ethiopian housemaid committed suicide in police custody just seven days after another Ethiopian housemaid, 20-year-old Medina Agraw Siraj, jumped to her death from the fourth floor of a Manama apartment building because of alleged mistreatment.

In October, 28-year-old Indonesian Zoou Huria, was admitted to hospital after jumping from a second-floor apartment in A'ali.

Migrant Workers Protection Society chairwoman Marietta Dias welcomed Friday's free workshop for housemaids and said she hoped women would be allowed to attend.

"The biggest problem is getting to these women when often their sponsors won't let them attend something like this," she said.

"I have recently had problems reaching a Ugandan woman whose family were very concerned about her welfare.


"She has not been home in four years and has had problems getting in touch with her family.

"They now say her salary is being held back by her sponsors.

"However, the police must first send up to three notices to the sponsors before they have to send her to the police station and even when they have been to their house she has not been handed over.

"These are the kind of problems we are dealing with here, it is sometimes impossible to reach out to these women."

She added such initiatives could benefit more women if they were also conducted in different languages.

"It is a good idea and I do hope it gets through to some of the women who need help," said Ms Dias.

Friday's free workshop is exclusively for housemaids suffering from emotional trauma and will take place from 9am until midday at the Kelly Armatage therapy centre in Mahooz. For more information, including location details, visit [email protected]

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