Nigeria News

Are house helps necessary or necessarily evil?

house helpYou should enhance the lives of your house helps, especially since it will likely reflect in the quality of care they give your children.

By the time they leave your houses, their lives should be better than before they came in. Show them love.

Do not maltreat them because your children will bear the brunt when you are not around, especially toddlers who are too young to tell you what transpired in your absence.

If you feel your house help is not worth your love or kindness, send him/her away and look for another.

Being cruel to them is inexcusable and inexplicable. You might run afoul of the law and/or it will interfere with your spiritual life. You can also unnecessarily put yourself and family in harm’s way. It is not worth the trouble.

House helps are not alternate spouses. If you are getting attracted to your help, it is time for him/her to go. You must look for an ingenious way to get your spouse’s consent and send him/her away.

Do not take chances. We are all human and it takes only a few seconds of madness for things to go wrong once there is fatal attraction.

Sometimes you might be seeing your help as a dirty village girl or boy, but your spouse is seeing a rough diamond (beauty) or a virile young man with youthful vigour that has deserted you with age.

These wives employing more attractive helps and these men whose jobs require frequent travels yet have young, agile men as resident domestic workers, be sure you are not endangering your marriage.

I do not believe house helps are necessary or necessarily evil; (although I concede that some, like David who beheaded his boss, are house helps from the pit of hell).

They are just disadvantaged people some of whom bear a grudge against the society and privileged people. Showing them love and availing them some of the privileges they were hitherto deprived of can transform them into angels. Your family, especially your children, deserve one of such angels.

There is this serious matter of getting children from the village or from poor relatives to take care of your children. How can you use an inexperienced under-aged child to bring up your children? For me it is a lose-lose situation: it is neither helpful to your children nor the child-house help. It is also a form of child labour and modern day slavery.

The only way you can justify having such children around is if you see and treat them as your older children who are helping you to bring up their younger ones, the way we helped our parents while growing up and what our older children are doing for us— giving the younger ones their bath, helping to get them ready for school and church, feeding them, keeping an eye on them, etc. But if you treat them as employees, that is child labour.

We also hear of cases where these relatives promised to send the children to school, but once they get to their abodes, they renege on their promises. The minimum expected of you is to fulfil your promise.

If your conscience allows you, put them in poorly-equipped schools when you can afford the fees of a good school, not necessarily the highbrow one your ’special children’ attend.

Whatever you decide to do, do not put other children’s lives at a standstill for your children’s. It is immoral and totally unnecessary. I always believe that there is enough room in the sky for the majestic eagle, the much maligned vulture and other birds to fly and flourish.

Help to create a better Nigeria. Show love to these children and it will be bountifully returned, if not from them, then God. After all, aren’t Christianity and Islam partly about giving and not expecting anything in return?

There is an emerging trend where some people have realised that they are not just employing a house help but somebody who is going to be deeply involved in their children’s formation. Consequently they go for well-educated caregivers—as some call them — who meet their specific criteria.

I have heard of some well-healed individuals who employ foreigners and pay as much as $2000 monthly, excluding feeding and accommodation.

Why not? No expense should be spared in giving your children a solid foundation. For Nigerian caregivers who get such opportunities, it might just be a stepping stone to getting seed money and valuable experience to start a kindergarten in the future.

Which got me thinking; we are battling massive unemployment in Nigeria and care giving is one area where there are a lot of job opportunities, but potential employers cannot get skilled labour; a case of water everywhere, yet none to drink.

Can’t the government or some organisations set up skills acquisition centres to train caregivers? There are many Nigerians who will pay premium if they get quality care givers.

In addition, I think there is an image problem. Maybe there is need for rebranding which will include change of name from house help to caregiver, which is broader and more respectable.

Then care giving can be standardised and professionalised with an association and executive to pilot its affairs. Who knows, may be some day they might even get charter status.

As for career growth and prospects, proprietorship of kindergartens and nursing homes for the elderly are just two options. It is surely one sector that can reduce unemployment if properly packaged and harnessed. Happy Easter.

Anthony-Claret Onwutalobi
Anthony-Claret Onwutalobi
Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC and CEO of Portia Web Solutions. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.

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