Founded in 2005, the Foreign Domestic Worker Association for Social Support and Training (FAST) is a charity supported by MOM and is approved as an Institute of a Public Character (IPC). The key objectives of FAST is as follows:
Since its inception, FAST has planned and organised many core skill courses and specialised and professional skill programmes for about 25,000 FDWs annually. These courses include cooking, baking, infant care, eldercare, foot reflexology, nursing care, computer skills, English language, stress management, financial management and entrepreneurial skills. FAST works with training providers and community centers to provide these courses at a subsidized rate for FDWs. FAST also conducts a two-day Onboarding and Integration Programme to help new FDW arrivals adjust and adapt to work life in Singapore, learning life essentials such how to use public transport and road safety.
To help FDWs who are victimized, in trouble or in distress, FAST launched a 24-hour helpline that receives an average of 180 calls a month. Most of the calls pertain to contractual issues such as eligibility for off-days, salaries, requests for transfers, loneliness, home leave and such. There are also distress calls, which FAST works with the relevant authorities to take immediate action for. Understanding that many FDWs feel lonely and isolated being so far away from home, FAST has a Befrienders Service that is run by volunteers, providing another avenue for FDWs to socialize and make friends through group activities. Some of the activities include weekly gatherings where the FDWs participate in team building activities, attend workshops and learning events. As FAST receives numerous referrals from the Ministry, other non-profit partners, embassies and the general public, the FAST Humanitarian Assistance Fund was established to help deserving FDWs who are in need of serious financial or medical difficulties. To help both employers and FDWs resolve any disputes, FAST also provides free mediation services and pro bono legal assistance.
Work Life Balance
Set-Up in 2014, the FAST Befrienders Clubhouse provides a welcoming and inclusive place for female FDWs to unwind, recharge and socialize on their off-days. By paying a token annual membership fee of $10, FDWs can sign up as members and are free to use all the facilities on site – including a KTV room, music jamming room, gym and more. There are also weekly activities organized at the clubhouse to keep FDWs entertained, such as fitness, handicraft, cooking and baking classes. With more than 10,000 members and counting, FAST has quickly become a second home to FDWs, fostering mutual care and respect for different nationalities and becoming a place where FDWs can spend their time meaningfully.
FAST works closely with many partners in providing social support and training for the FDWs. They include Ambassadors and staff from Embassies, Training Providers, Employment agencies, other NPOs and government agencies. The Embassies also strongly supports FAST events and activities by attending its events and in particular, the annual FDW Day.