Domestic Work

All about Domestic Workers in Malawi at Mywage.org/Malawi

Who is a domestic worker?

 This is a man or woman or a child who is involved in duties mostly connected to household chores. The duties mainly include mopping, ironing, baby sitting, laundry, sweeping and cooking. The number of domestic workers in Malawi is high especially in urban areas where people come from rural areas to work in town. Some of the cities where domestic workers are include Blantyre, Lilongwe, Mzuzu and Zomba.

Mywage speaks to Ruth Kamzingeni, a domestic worker in Malawi

What is your name?

My name is Ruth Kamzingeni and I am 30 years old.

When did you start domestic work?

I got employment when I was about 23 years. I decided to work as a domestic worker having failed to finish my studies because I lost my parents. In order to support my brothers and sisters I had no choice but to work.

What work do you do?

Basically it’s cleaning the house and cooking. I had been doing babysitting, but now it’s different- I escort the children to school.

What are the challenges you face?

They are so many, but one of them is that it takes time for my employer to raise my salary. With little knowledge on where to go there is nothing I can do except just wait. There are friends who have just resigned and gone to other places due to poor salary.

How much are you getting now?

It’s difficult to disclose. I receive K 8,000 per month and it’s not enough. The same money I have to send home to help my brothers and sisters. I am still working for the same family because although they have not raised my salary, they have given some clothes for me and my brothers and sisters so I benefit.

Do you know any of your rights as a domestic worker?

I shouldn’t lie to you, I know nothing. All I do is work because I am desperate, and to lose this job means real poverty.

Do they give you a house allowance or what does your salary contain?

Not at all, I sleep in their house and so there is no need for the house allowance, but I should also say that during the festive season they sometimes give me a bonus. I remember last year, they gave me a bonus of K2,000 on top of the salary so at least I got more.

How much money did you start with?

I think I have forgotten, but I was so desperate that time. The best I can remember was that I accepted K2,000 if not K2,500.

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