Saudi households hit out at "clueless" maids

More than two-thirds of households believe domestic help not fit for purpose
By Abdul Rawuf
Thu 22 Aug 2013 10:45 AM

More than two thirds of households in Saudi Arabia do not believe their domestic helpers are qualified to do the job, new research showed, in some instances slamming them as “clueless”.

The study by Kind Abdul Aziz Centre for National Dialogue found that 69 percent of families did not think maids were adequately trained in their home country before arriving in the Gulf kingdom, with just 18 percent expressing satisfaction with their abilities.

“They are clueless. They don’t know basic cleaning methods,” Lamya Hammad, a stay-at-home-mother, told English language Arab News. “As soon as we receive a new maid, I know I will have to spend at least three months teaching her how to clean and cook. I sometimes wonder how she's even called a maid when she doesn’t know how to be one.”

The study, which canvassed the opinions of 1,000 Saudi households, also revealed preferences for certain nationalities when it came to domestic workers. Just over a quarter (27.5 percent) said they sought to employ Indonesians where possible, due to better Arabic language skills and shared Islamic cultural values. Under a fifth (17.3 percent) said they preferred Filipinos, but few expressed an interest in hiring Ethiopian maids, due to a spate of recent murders allegedly by domestic helpers from the African country.

Indonesia and the Philippines have in at different times placed bans on their nationals working in Saudi Arabia due to concerns over abuse and pay.

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