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Maid for Ramadan
Increased demand for housekeepers in Saudi Arabia ahead of the holy month is encouraging maids to demand higher pay and better working conditions, reports Arab News.
August 19, 2009 9:50 by Aarti Nagraj
Mariam indicated that some housemaids were paid more than SR2,000 ($533) and said the demand is usually high for their services during the months of Ramadan, Rajab and Shabaan. “We work for whoever pays high salaries,” she added.
Asked if she feared the passport police – especially since she does not have an iqama (work permit) – Mariam said she has her ways of evading them.
Siryati, an Indonesian maid, says she came to Saudi Arabia about 10 years ago when on a work visa, and lived with a Saudi family in the Eastern Province.
“I spent five years with this family. They were so nice to me and treated me like their own daughter,” she said. “We then went to Riyadh for two years and to Jazan for the same period of time. I came to Madinah about a year ago for a visit with the family when I escaped from them.”
She said while at a public park in Madinah she met some of her countrywomen who talked her into running away from the family to make more money.
“They gave me a mobile number to call any time I wanted to sneak out. A man answered when I called and asked me to meet him in a public place. He provided me with accommodations with other maids for SR200 ($53.3) a month and found a job for me for SR1,500 ($400),” she said.
Though she is happy where she is now working, Siryati did not conceal the fact that she would work for anyone who pays better.