Thursday, 9 June 2011


Australia is amongst the countries that are very supportive of the convention, including the provisions that protect child domestic workers. Our two Champions from Tanzania, Angel and Angelina, shared their opinions with one of the Australian delegates some days ago and today, she came to meet me to ask me to convey her message of support to child domestic workers. Here it goes:

Dear Honourable children,
We hear your messages very clearly and will do our best to achieve a strong convention and recommendation to ensure labour standards and protections for you. I have great respect for all of you and wish you a very bright future.
Louise – Government of Australia

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

I wish our champions were still here

Today was the day when the Committee discussed paragraph 4 of the recommendation. 7 amendments were presented to modify the text that our champions lobbied about. Whilst everybody recognised the need to protect child domestic worker, an intense discussion took place in relation to the current prohibition in the text of night work for children. After a long exchange and a unanimous support from all governments that spoke the paragraph was retained!

This is a real success and there is no doubt that the Global Views of child domestic workers and the lobbying of our Champions played a significant part in achieving this great result!


Convention Agreed!

At 10.00pm on Tuesday, the Committee on Domestic Workers completed the discussion of all 19 articles of the convention and adopted it! Whilst it doesn’t yet mean that the Convention is adopted (it will still need to be voted for in Plenary), it represents a giant step towards recognising the rights of domestic workers – children, adults and migrants.

I felt very privileged to be in the Committee room as a real sense of achievement could be felt by all in the room.  
The Committee members also broke their own procedure and clapped for a few minutes to celebrate the achievement!

As we know, article 4 on the minimum age and the right to education for child domestic workers was protected during the negotiations, which was a real success. It is good to know that the substance of most of the other general articles also was preserved.

After the Chair closed the session, workers starting humming and singing a very touching song from South Africa in celebration, it was a very happy and significant moment.


Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Rain, strength and chipsy

All the Children's Champions are now on their way home and it has started pouring with rain...typical...over the past two days we've held an art workshop with the girls and they made an evaluation of their time here and it has brought up some interesting issues.

Despite having no common language between them the girls got on very well with each other.  They said that they drew strength from the similarities of their lives as child domestic workers.  Although the contexts are quite different in the Philippines, Tanzania and Costa Rica, they were treated much the same by some of their employers and communities (although not all).  They all mentioned that they are considered 'worthless' or 'valueless' by others.  But, although they knew they had suffered, the girls all expressed that, by sharing their stories they gained strength from each other.

They worked hard from day one in a very alien environment, adult and formal - a daunting prospect for most of us let alone for five young women who are suffering from jet lag, finding the food strange and - for four of them - have never left their country before.  It is incredible that they performed so well.  But thinking about it, maybe it is not so incredible - they are driven by a shared passsion and they have a very clear goal (to end the exploitation of their fellow child domestic workers).

The laughter noticeably increased over the past two days - perhaps because the pressure was off a bit.  We learned some words from each of our languages - and it is indicative of the things that were important to the girls that we learned the following words in Swahili - 'sleepy', 'full' (of food), 'article 4 and paragraph 4', 'come on girls', 'pink' (which was pinky) and 'chips' (which was chipsy!!)...that word alone created barrages of laughter.

It was a strong team this year at the ILC, helped considerably the girls' guardians - all committed and caring women - who gently pushed them towards challenges instead of away from them.   I am inspired by them all.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

One of the many messages of support we received

Congratulations for your valuable and fruitful statement rasied doing committee on domestic workers. I really support your statement and really support the adoption of the convention.
In addition to the conventions on minimum wage and child labour, each and every country should support adoption and ratification of a convention that provides international protection for domestic workers.
Republic of Turkey

Deux des 50 messages de soutien que nos champions ont obtenus

Soutenons vigoureusement les enfants travailleurs domestiques dans le monde entier et sommes favorables a l'adoption de normes internationales dans le sens de leur protection.
Nous, Centrale Syndicale Humanisme, au dela d'apporter notre solidarite aux travailleurs et travailleuses domestiques, nous nous engageons a les defendre partout ou leurs interets sont en jeu. Beaucoup de courage a vous et bonne continuation.
Cote d'Ivoire

Unos de los 50 mensajes de apoyo que recibimos

Renuncia a todo lo que impida tu crecimiento integral, eres unica en el universo; tus aportes son necesarios para una mejor humanidad. Lo mejor empieza por ti.
Republica Dominica
Un saludo de los trabajadores Uruguayos a la lucha que llevan. Por una infancia donde nlos ninos jueguen, se diviertan y pueden estudiar.

The champions lobbied furiously!

In just four days, Angelina, Angel, Lilbeth, Ginne and Tatiana have become very confident and effective lobbyists. and I am pretty confident in saying that I have the feeling of a job well done!
We spent three days at the ILC, and in this time, our champions managed to talk to and present their global views to over 30 governemental delegations, this is amazing! They played an important role in making sure that article 4 wasn't watered down and delegates understood the importance of the convention to protect child domestic workers globally.
It wasn't easy at the begining, it has to be said: delegates have very little time, are constantly moving around and not always used to listening meaningfully to the opinions of children. But the champions worked hard on their messaging, making sure that they were able to present the global views of other child domestic workers in not more than the 3 minutes delegates were allocating them.
I would like to say congratulations to our five fantastic lobbyists for taking up the challenge and reaching out to so many governements.

Saturday, 4 June 2011

The drafting process in action

Thought I'd write this while the girls are on a coach tour of 'Nyon and the Countryside' - so that they can see more of Geneva than the inside of a conference room!  Although it's only 4 days into the ILC today was our last day.  Article 4 was adopted last night and was not watered down as we had feared.  Lilibeth was at the ILC early yesterday and gave us the bad news that amendments had been proposed to Article 4 that would give much less protection to children and, effectively, deny child domestic workers their right to education.   Article 4 (in the convention) and Paragraph 4 (in the recommendation) are the only places where children are mentioned in the standards. They have become a rallying cry for us, we have been asking delegates whether they support them, we've been explaining the protection they would give children.  We've even all learnt how to say Article 4 Paragraph 4 in Swahili (kifungoo channe, kidoko channe - phonetical spelling of course!).

The girls were quite dispondent when Lilibeth explained about the amendments, it hit them hard.  But they forced themselves to carry on lobbying for them and we found that, actually, when they mentioned the proposed amendments, delegates sat up and listened a bit more closely, rifled through their papers and were very supportive of Article 4.  It worked in our favour...children were on the agenda.

We had a very positive 'round up' session in the grounds of the UN yesterday (when we sit in a circle and one-by-one talk about what was good that day, what was bad and what worked - in terms of lobbying).  Our round up seemed to show that we'd all seen the drafting process at work.  It's hard to feel you know what is going on at the ILC when legislation is being drafted.  The drafting process is VERY far removed from all the children's champions' lives.  Especially Angelina who can't yet read and write.  But yesterday we were involved in the process - because we cared about the impact of some words being removed from a couple of sentences we had all got to know quite well!!

We won't be around for the discussion on Paragraph 4 but I hope that our impact on the first 4 days will continue in the minds of the delegates when it comes to Paragraph 4...Audrey will still be here so she'll have to fight for all of us!


La fuerza del grupo logra los propositos

Hola mi nombre es Tatiana, soy de Costa Rica, y soy una trabajadora domestica y tuve la oportunidad de presentar mi experiencia como tal en la OIT, lo cual fue muy especial para mi porque pude ser escuchada por muchas delegaciones de diferentes paises.
En estos dias he tenido la oportunidad de conocer a personas con el mismo interes y preocupacion que la mia, luchar por los derechos de los y las adolescentes trabajadores domesticos.
Lo que he compartido con el grupo de adolescentes que vinimos a Ginebra ha sido de gran aprendizaje y ayuda para mi porque todos no solo me han apoyado (al sentirme lejos de mi familia y amigos) sino tambien hemos podido intercambiar experiencias, lo cual me a motivado a seguir adelante y a creer que si se puede lograr el voto y apoyo a la convencion, la cual es improtate para todos y todas las y los trajadores domesticos.
El dia de ayer tuve la oportunidad de expresarles a delegados de diferentes paises mi experiencia como trabajadora domestica desde que tenia 11 anos, la cual creo que fue importante para concientizarlos sobre las realidades que pasan los otros trabajadores domesticos en iguales o peores condiciones que la mia.
Es importante destacar que para que este trabajo se logre con exito, se debe de trabajar en grupo porque esto permite la organizacion de la labor que se realiza, asi como el apoyo que se siente de los demas. Igualmente todo lo que el resto del grupo agrego es muy valioso y ayuda a que tanto los otros como yo podamos salir adelante con la mision que se nos ha encomendado: Ser la voz de ninos, ninas y adolescentes trabajadores domestico alrededor del mundo, haciendose no solo presentes sino tambien visibles.
Para terminar, quiero agradecer su apoyo y espero que este gran movimiento de ninos, ninas y trabajadores domestico nunca termine de hacerse escuchar.

Friday, 3 June 2011

Message from Angel


I am Angel from Tanzania

I’m very happy to speak with delegates at ILC from different countries because they give us hope to support, vote and ratify the Convention on Child Domestic Workers.

I’m sure that they are going to do it and I hope to see those changes in their countries in the near future.



Ginne at the Side Event 1 June
Hola, mi nombre es Ginne Morera y soy de San Jose, Costa Rica, del programa Dando Voces a los ninos, ninas y adolescentes trabajadores domesticos del DNI en este pais.
Mi experiencia aqui en Ginebra ha sido muy bonita y unica, y que lo que me ha venido sucediendo a sido diferente a lo que estoy acostumbrada. En especial lo que me sucedio el dia de ayer, donde la pase super bien, al principio fue un poquito dificil porque quise hablar con un presentante y me dijo que no tenia tiempo para hablar conmigo sobre el documento que los ninos, ninas y adolescentes trabajadores domesticos hemos creado para que se escuche nuestra realidad. Pero bueno, luego aparecio la delegacion de Chile que empezaron a oir lo que tenia por decir, especialmente porque yo hablo espanol como ellos (y para ser sincera eso tambien me alegro a mi), asi que aproveche y les hable de la relevancia al apoyo en general de la convencion, al igual que al articulo 4 del parrafo 4 de esta y la ratificacion en cada pais. Tambien les hable de las diferentes situaciones de riesgo que nos enfrentamos dia a dia, como por ejemplo el que las personas menores de 14 anos realizen actividades domesticas no adecuadas a su desarrollo, tanto psciologico como fisico.
El que la delegacion de Chile me escuchara fue muy motivante para mi, ya que no solo escucharon mi voz sino la de muchos otros trabajadores domesticos infantiles, haciendome sentir segura de mi misma, asi como apreciada.
Para terminar, les recuerdo a todos y todas que es necesario estar infomados sobre lo que implica el articulo 4, parrafo 4 de la convencion, para asi tener bases solidas para tomar decisiones y a la hora de ratificarlo en cada pais, lo cual requiere que los y las trabajadores domesticos sean escuchados y tomados en cuenta, ya que somos nosotros los que estamos viviendo esta triste realidad.
Recuerden que cuando se sientan que se estan violentando sus derechos su integridad, hay personas y organizaciones que se preocupan por nuestro bienestar.

The most important day!

It was great opportunity to speak in the Domestic Workers Committee hearing where tripartite delegates from different countries listened to my speech about the Global Views of Child Domestic Workers.
It was indeed a very overwhelming and memorable experience. I am very thankful that once in my life I was given opportunity to speak of about an important convention that will make a difference in the lives of other child domestic workers.

When I went back to my seat, I saw people crying and emotional. Some even came to approach and congratulate me after the meeting. It made me feel happy because our voice was heard and it helped us to lobby for their support.

Again thank you so much for your support


Thursday, 2 June 2011

Lilibeth addresses the plenary!

We want to congratulate Lilibeth on addressing the plenary of the ILO's Committee on Decent Work for Domestic Workers. She spoke clearly and beautifully about child domestic workers concerns and we clapped (silently). We had to be silent in our congratulations as NGOs are forbidden to speak during the committee. This is why Lilibeth's speech is so significant for us and for children more generally when you are at the ILO.  Here she is in the front row of the workers section of the committee room!