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DOMESTIC WORKERS FOCUS GROUP:

INTERVIEWEES

by
Ágora Association
Ágora is now working on an Integrated Project (IP) TENCompetence Project “Building The
European Network for Lifelong Competence Development.”

CLAN – Continuous Learning for Adults with Needs


134649-LLP-1-2007-1-IT-GRUNDTVIG-GMP
Grant Agreement 2007-3569/001-001
This project has been funded with support from the European Commission.
This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for
any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

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DOMESTIC WORKERS FOCUS GROUP

Interviewees
Women between 30 and 65 years old most of them without academic certification.
No catalan women. Only from other regions from Spain and immigrants.

The Clan composition

1. What are the main obstacles deriving from the particular condition and
organization of the job?

Domestic Workers hired by a company have as a main obstacle the inestability of


the working conditions. When they work for this type of cleaning companies, is the
company that fixes the amount of hours they are supposed to work. Sometimes
these hours are not enough and the workers wouldn´t get more, which means they
can´t make more money.

Cristina is spanish. She works for a cleaning company. She was transfered to
another branch of the company so they don´t have to give her more hours. She is
obliged to look for more hours in another company that she can´t still find. She
says she can´t put together 8 working hours and most companies don´t want to
hire her because she doesn´t have her own car to go to far areas where the
services are required. She doesn´t want to work for a house because she says they
want workers to do everything and they only pay you some hours.

Rosario is spanish. She started when she was 16 on the 50´s during the spanish
dictatorship. She used to get locked by her patrons to not to escape. Her mother
didn´t have any money and most of the time didn´t have anything to eat. The
patrons didn´t feed her. They didn´let her study and she got paid pennies for the
day.

Nadja is from Morocco. She says she doesn´t get a good salary. She doesn´t have
a good schedule either. She doesn´t have time to look for another job. She lives in
the patron´s house. She used to work every day for them, but now she has asked
to have the weekends for her free time. She is supposed to work until 5pm, but the
patrons require her after that anytime. She can´t leave after 5. She is aware they
are taking advantage of her. She is still making the same money as when she
started. She makes 400 euros a month.
María is spanish. María thinks that the biggest obstacle is the lack of time to get
educated. She says before Domestic Workers were like slaves. She says patrons
don´t want to do the papers to the workers because when they have them, they
leave.

Julia started at 13. That was on the 50´s. She is spanish. She didn´t have time to
do other things but work. She only had two free afternoons. She said she had to
accept what they wanted to pay her. Now is different but she doesn´t make much
either.

Pepita cleans houses independently. She thinks the level of the employers has a lot
to do on her working conditions. If they have more social status they are more
understanding. She doesn´t make much money. She is spanish, she says
employers prefer spanish than immigrants workers.

2. What are the main social, cultural or religious opportunities that must be
renounced because of one´s job?

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The biggest renunciations are education. Cristina wants to get a degree but because
of a lack of resources in time and money she can´t.

Rosario is not really aware of what she had to renounce to because of serving in
houses. She only knows that she didn´t have proper life conditions because of the
lack of money.

Nadja can´t really administrate her free time as she would like. She feels she can´t
get other opportunities because of her job. She is not really aware of what are
those opportunities. She thinks it is related to education.

María is an independant domestic worker and also has been a literacy teacher. She
thinks Domestic Workers have to renounce to almost everything. She is aware of
the obstacles domestic work has. She says, the patrons don´t want the workers to
get educated.

Julia says she couldn´t get educated properly. She couldn´t know anything better.
She said she had to renounce to everything. She didn´t have a clue of what she
was missing. She only knows how to work.

Pepita says that if you are sick, you don´t get paid. There is no social security, she
doesn´t get any benefits like paid vacations.

3. What are the perceived obstacles to social and cultural growth?

Most of the workers agreed that the lack of information they have with the lack of
time, stopped them from studying more. Cristina said said that if when they were
young they don´t get more opportunities, it is more difficult for them to ask or try
to get opportunities when they are older.

Rosario has a lack of confidence. She has been learning to read and write for years
already and doesn´t feel like going to the next level.

Nadja still doesn´t have the strenght to stand up for herself. She is still not aware
of what she is missing. She is aware though that she needs to improve in reading
and writing to get to the next level.

María says there is a lack of information and time to get invest in social or cultural
growth.
Julia said she realized that to learn how to write and how to read was important to
her, but she said she could tell the system is not focused on them to get educated.

Julia knows that the bad conditions she has to work in, takes away opportunities to
her. She couldn´t go to school.

Pepita doesn´t perceive the obstacles.

To grow in the Clan: Training and learning needs

1. What training activities has the interviewee participated in during the last three
years?

Cristina has participated in classes at La Verneda Adult School. She has also
participated in congresses organized by Ágora Association and has been a speaker
at a University of Barcelona congress.

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Rosario has also participated in congresses and classes. She participated on the
protests to recover La Verneda civic centre (Barcelona) for the neighborhood.

Nadja has been a speaker in a University of Barcelona congress too. She is going to
literacy classes.

María has participated in a lot of congresses as a speaker and has been a literacy
teacher.

Julia has participated in “Jornadas” (La Verneda school gathering in retreat camp)
of La Verneda School. She goes to classes to another school too.

Pepita has participated in congresses as a speaker and is a literacy teacher at La


Verneda.

2. Does the interviewee think that those training activities are specifically linked to
the skills useful for professional life or that some skills could be utilized for social
and civic growth?

Cristina thinks that the classes she was part of were useful for her to feel more to
vindicate. She is not aware how this has changed her but she is aware she is not
the same person as years ago.

Rosario is not aware of that, she says that she could only tell that she felt good
participating on these things.

Nadja thinks she has improved in her education. She feels capable of doing other
things too. But she doesn´t know what to do.

María is aware that she has got benefited of these “trainings” in her social life. She
feels more educated and wiling to do other things. She feels more prepared to
interact with everybody in any matter.

Julia is aware that she has probably improved but she thinks she can´t
acknowledge what this is. Now she knows how to write more or less and to do
errands.

Pepita feels these training tools have improved her level of understanding.

3. Which of the interviewee’s social skills (the ones necessary for having the full
enjoyment of one’s own political and social citizenship) should the interviewee
increase (or would like to increase) through training activities?

Cristina wants to get more cultured. She thinks she really needs to improve her
memory and train her mind.

Rosario would like to go to the university, but she doesn´t see herself there. She is
scared.

Nadja would like to learn to write perfectly.

María wants to loose the fear of using technologies.

Julia wants to write and read better and to train her memory.

Pepita would like to learn how to organize her free time with her working hours.
She would like to get skilled in sports.

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4. What are the innovative instruments or the didactic methods that the interviewee
has used, or has been told about, that could, in his/her opinion, help to reconcile
work schedules with training sessions?

Cristina uses internet and really likes to learn through the pc. She heard about the
“Brain Training” game of Nintendo and she likes this type of things a lot.

Rosario wants to learn to use the pc. Also Nadja.

María knows the “Literary Gatherings Method” is a good instrument to learn. She
has been part of these gatherings at La Verneda school. She also thinks Internet is
a very good tool to learn.

Julia doesn´t know this answer. But she suspects that to learn to use the pc would
help her.

Pepita knows computer programs are useful. She knows a bit of the use of a pc
but would like to learn more.
To grow out of the CLAN: informal and not formal training

1. With what instruments and/or any other means does the interviewee acquire
skills different from the ones utilized for professional reasons?

Cristina is into music a lot, she knows how to use mp3 and she also uses a mobile
phone.

Rosario is not aware of that. She can only think of learning computer programs
would be something good for her.

Nadja likes to read books. She knows that is helping her. This is the only instrument
she is using besides the classes.

María participates in the literary gatherings and the multicultural groups at school.
She also participates at the Federation of Adult Schools Associations in gatherings.

Julia is still learning to use her mobile phone. She doesn´t know how to use the pc.

Pepita participates in the free time excursions organized by the school.

2. Does the interviewee use the internet for personal training/information? If yes,
when (at what time) and in order to have what training or information?

Cristina uses internet when she is volunteering at La Verneda school secretary. She
uses it to read Philosophy but also to watch U-Tube videos.

Rosario doesn´t know how to use internet. Neither does Nadja.

María uses internet and emails. She reads a lot.

Julia doesn´t know how to use none of these tools.

Pepita uses internet but little.

3. Does the interviewee use social networking instruments (blog, chat, forum)? If
yes, in order to have what training/information?

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Cristina doesn´t chat or gets in forums or blogs. Neither does Rosario or Nadja.

María doesn´t chat or doesn´t know what a blog is just like Julia. Pepita knows
what a chat is but doesn´t use it or blogs.

Conclussions
All women have to work without contracts.
They all have low salaries.
They can´t find a balance in the working hours. They either have excess of working
hours or too little hours they can´t make enough
money.
Even all women have participated in congresses as speakers or public and some are
literacy students and literacy teachers; most of them are still not completely aware
of the obstacles for their own social or cultural growth.
If they are aware, they don´t know what to do to improve their professional work
or social life.
Most wishes are related to get a higher education.

Interviewees own conclussions


All the interviewees concluded that things have changed. Now they feel there are
more opportunities but still there is a lot of things to improve. They are a bit scared
of new technologies and they need to prove themselves that it is ok to make
mistakes and that they can learn, that it is not that difficult.

They think they have to learn through basic tools, and basic things. They also said
that when they are alone they don´t fear to make mistakes and feel more
confident. They all want to learn how to use technologies.

They really want to reconcile work and trainning schedules but they need more
awareness. They think this would take a long time and that they need patience.
They also want to improve their working conditions.
They want more centres where to go and study after work.