Domestic helpers often play an important role in caring for persons with intellectual disabilities (PWIDs) and their families. Caring for a PWID, like caring for anyone else, is no easy task. Helpers may be tasked with chaperoning their wards to various locations for their activities and are thus tied to tight schedules. However, they may face unforeseen situations in public like sudden toileting needs and mood swings from their wards, leading to stressful situations and possibly unkind reactions from members of the public. This can be a lonely journey for helpers as they may not have someone to confide in or to empathise with their struggles.
Through Me Too! Club (MTC) activities, helpers of MTC members connected with each other, forming strong friendships and their own ‘Me Too! Club Girls’ (MTCG) group. “It started when we created a Facebook chat-group to ask who would be attending the activities and how to get there. Then, we used (the chat-group) to chit chat and arrange what food to bring for our potluck parties.”, Ms Virginia, a helper in the MTCG group, shared.
During MTC activities, it is common to see the helpers “exchanging wards”, helping to care for their fellow helpers’ wards. Ms Rose, another helper in the MTCG group expressed, “This gives us a break from our usual role, but we are always near our ward to support them in case anything happens”.
Other than supporting each other in their caregiving roles, the MTCG helpers also make it a point to have fun together. With MTC activities held across the island, MTCG helper Ms Cristina enthused, “I have been to more places than I did on my off days. I am lucky to care for my ward because she brought me all over Singapore.” At these activity locations, the MTCG helpers enjoy filming TikTok videos with each other – keepsakes to remember these fun times by.
When an employment term ends and the MTCG helpers return to their hometowns, many of them remain in the group, keeping in contact with and continuing to support fellow helpers. “Our bond is not time or contract-bound, we are forever friends!”, they happily shared.
With MTC celebrating its 6th anniversary this year, it is heartening to see communities like the MTCG group blooming organically. MTC hopes that its activities continue to create spaces for such friendships and communities to blossom.