When the women come to recruitment agencies to work as domestic helpers overseas, they begin building the foundation of their dreams of a better future. During their training following the recruitment, their dreams assume colours and shapes. They leave their homeland with high hopes and aspirations.
Arriving at their destinations, the workers quickly realize that no amount of training can prepare them for the shock of the cold, foreign world which confronts them. Those who are placed with considerate employers have generally happy working lives. Those who are placed with employers who expect ready-to-use service from their domestic helpers have a long and rocky road to navigate. With very little bargaining power and negotiating skills, as well as social prejudice from many parts of the community, these women's dreams can easily turn into nightmares.
In Dreamseekers: Indonesian Women as Domestic Workers in Asia, veteran journalist Dewi Anggraeni uncovers the hidden world of domestic helpers from all points of view: the employers, the agents, the governments, the NGOs, and most importantly the workers themselves. This first-hand account of the struggles and successes of these women is described in vivid detail, and Dreamseekers is a must-read by anyone interested in the plight of these remarkable women.
About the author
Dewi Anggraeni, a native of Jakarta, is a journalist and novelist now residing in Melbourne. She is the Australia correspondent for Tempo and regular contributor to the Jakarta Post. Her works have been published in Australia, Indonesia, Hong Kong, the USA, the UK, and Malaysia. Dewi has also published seven books, the latest being Who Did This to our Bali and a novel, Snake, (2003, Indra Publishing). She has also contributed to various anthologies and collections of essays including "Journey to my Cultural Home", in Weaving a Double Cloth (2002, Pandanus Books).