May is Helper Appreciation Month in Hong Kong. This is a “positive initiative that inspires public and private acts of gratitude and appreciation towards Hong Kong’s domestic workers.” Do you have a helper that works hard to take care of your family and plays a big role in your daily life? May is a good time for employers to show how grateful they are to their helpers.

This movement started on Lantau island in Hong Kong four years ago to give families the opportunity to show their appreciation for domestic workers and celebrate their work. Each year the movement is growing and involving more and more families in Hong Kong.

To support and show gratitude to those great workers who contribute to making Hong Kong expats’ lives more comfortable, you can participate to different initiatives launched for the occasion, or take advantage of this opportunity to reward them and offer them something special.

First of all, you can organise a meeting with your helper and the whole family to tell her how important she is to you, and offer her drawings from your children, a certificate for the Best Helper, or you can also post pictures of your helper on social media to demonstrate your gratitude and how important she is to your family (as well as demonstrating your support for the initiative as a whole).

You can also listen to your helper and learn more about her situation, her struggles and plans, and understand more about the circumstances in which she came to Hong Kong. It is also important to learn more about her family situation and whether she has some debts (if she is willing to share her story). In this way, you can encourage your helper to save for her long-term goals and give her moral support for this tricky task: you could help her to open a savings account or even go one step further by offering her financial incentives to save.

As employers, you play an important role in supporting the personal development of your domestic helper during this time abroad. You can offer her opportunities to learn and to improve her skills. HelperChoice, a social company in Hong Kong, offers a monthly subscription plan for employers through which they can sponsor their helper’s upskilling via workshops in domestic skills such as cooking, baking, sewing, financial management, communication, etc. These courses are offered in various locations in Hong Kong and provide opportunities for domestic workers to develop new skills that can be helpful both now and throughout her life.

Foreign domestic workers made huge sacrifices to earn a living in Hong Kong and offer a better future to their family members, so they would be very grateful if you grant them extra paid holidays to spend with their family, or pay for a flight ticket to go back home (if you can afford it). This means a lot to them!

Helper Appreciation Month is back this year and it is important to make it count, while keeping in mind that showing appreciation regularly throughout the year is just as important, especially in order to develop a deeper and healthier relationship between employers and helpers.

To learn more about the HelperChoice Academy, visit www.helperchoice.com.

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