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Salary drop, fear of job loss cause mental health problems for domestic workers

28 July 2021 3:31 PM
Tags:
Domestic worker
africa economy
Sweepsouth

Sweepsouth Co-Founder Aisha Pandor says the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic had a negative mental impact on helpers across Africa.

SweepSouth an online platform for booking, managing, and paying for home cleaning services recently conducted a survey to see the impact of COVID-19 on domestic workers across Africa.

Sweepsouth Co-Founder Aisha Pandor unpacked the reasoning behind the survey especially expanding to other countries like Nigeria and Kenya.

We started to surface the data four years ago from South Africa and started to think about how does it relate to other countries that domestic workers are active. We often think of domestic workers in an industry that is South African-specific and that even goes with the challenges that come with the job but we found that in fact, in other countries that we surveyed, unfortunately, their situation is even worse.

Aisha Pandor, Co-Founder - Sweepsouth

Pandor says the impact of the pandemic had a negative mental impact on helpers across Africa but the positive part is that earning and the frequency of work has improved significantly unlike last year.

What has been encouraging is seeing measures of relief in terms of how often people are making an earning even though it is still not at the 2019 level because we have seen a drop in earnings as a result of the pandemic.

Aisha Pandor, Co-Founder - Sweepsouth

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Pandor added that the drop in salary, not being able to interact with loved ones and the fear of losing their jobs have caused mental health problems for many domestic workers.

75% said they were struggling with depression while 25% were struggling with anxiety.

Aisha Pandor, Co-Founder - Sweepsouth

The things they said helped with mental health were things like going to church, outdoor activity, exercise, and spending time with family, friends, and the community and you know all of these things they mentioned were negatively impacted by the pandemic.

Aisha Pandor, Co-Founder - Sweepsouth

Pandor says what really came out of the pandemic and on a broader scale is the need for open dialog, compassion, understanding, and non-judgment.

What we recommended is for both employer and employee to have an open conversation on what works for both parties and how it will work taking into account what is right ethically and morally.

Aisha Pandor, Co-Founder - Sweepsouth

Pandor says a minority of domestic workers are hesitant in taking the vaccine and that the government should maybe work in educating people on the vaccination process.

We have seen from the survey that 17% of South Africans are not willing to be vaccinated and the number lowers in other countries with 5% in Kenya and 8% from Nigeria. I think this is worrying because they are working with families and so it comes to a broader and more coordinated education strategy within the country and not leaving employers to educate or tell the helpers that if they do not get vaccinated their job is in jeopardy.

Aisha Pandor, Co-Founder - Sweepsouth

The survey was on both male and female helpers between the ages of 25 to 40 years old.

Listen to the full interview below...




28 July 2021 3:31 PM
Tags:
Domestic worker
africa economy
Sweepsouth

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