Sunday, February 23, 2014

Please Read: Be Careful With Your Nanny, Maid Or House Help

I won't bore you with too much details but essentially my family was robbed in April 2013 and my husband had a close shave with death after being attacked by armed robbers in our home. Everything we worked for over the few years before the robbery was taken away in one night. They came with a car and took everything away.

Two months later, little did I know that this whole ordeal had only just begun, we had to rush my husband to the hospital for a major borehole operation on his head. He had been haemorrhaging internally since he was struck during the robbery. He did complain of headaches but no one thought it was anything that serious until he started to loose mobility in one side of his body, speech was no longer coherent, he lost bowel control and could barely recognise anyone. He had to be moved around in a wheel chair and I can easily tell you that was one of the most scary experience of my life.

The security guard had let the robbers in and even given them uniforms to wear in case anyone came round. He let them know who kept the keys and also the vulnerable exit that we had which let them into our home. He knew so much about the layout of the home, he took advantage of it and set us up...

I write my story so that people can take a lot of care before hiring these people and do not trust them just because of the length of service. We live to share our story and we are grateful to God, a few days later we heard of a robbery and some lives were lost. I do not want people to suffer like my family did, please take care and hire with care. The tips below will help you hire a domestic worker more safely.

The scary bit to think about and some questions you should not fail to ask:
• Who exactly is Mr Tony, Peter or Mama Bola the agent?

• Where is their home or registered office address?

• Do you have their licence to practice or have you seen their registration documents?

• If there is a crime, do you know where to track them back to or do you have any form of identification or photograph to give to the police?

• Do you know much about the Nanny or house help other than their first name? A lot of us do not even know their last names and I know they may change their names on the jobs but you need to capture some information about them and see if you can validate it as time goes on. We do not have any known functional and reasonable database in Nigeria yet to screen these people hence people in society need to be doing a lot more in protecting their homes. We leave these strangers in our fantastic homes which we have worked so hard to set up and even our most priced possessions, our children and yet we do not know much about them. A lot of us are enlightened enough now to screen them for HIV and once they are in the clear they are OK to watch over our homes and children.

• Have you screened them for other diseases other than HIV, how about Hepatitis B, tuberculosis etc and how often do you screen them. A lot of us screen them once at the start of their jobs and that is it, despite these people being sexually active. And please do not go on about Human Rights, the society is what it is and we need to screen them against diseases before they work in our homes and look after our children. I have heard of horror stories of nannies with Hepatitis sharing tooth brushes with the kids and guess what?!!!!!

• Positive test results does not make anyone trust worthy enough to look after our children, they can still pose physical, emotional, sexual threats against our children.

• Other than their state of origin, do you have information on their family tree, their parents, brothers and sisters etc?

• Do you have the contact numbers for their guarantors or you have just taken the profit driven agent's word for gold?

• Why not ask to speak to their parents etc and get to know more about these people? I hear you say but do your employers know these much detail and ask to speak to your family or parents in a regular job but I say, this isn't a regular job and these workers are so close to what is dearest to you, you need to protect your homes and families especially the more vulnerable children.

• Do you have a reference for these Nannies or House helps? They tell you they worked with Mr and Mrs XYZ at Lekki or Victoria Garden City for 2 years and you believe them. You ask them for a number and they don't have it, you ask for the address and they tell you they have relocated abroad. No audit trail yet we hire them into our homes. Perhaps, when they leave employment they need to collect a reference from their employer with contact details, I believe if they have served well, then the employer can provide a good reference for them to get another job.

Helps from Hell Initiative - Our Cause and Goals
1. Ability to get good referrals for your nannies and other domestic workers before you hire them.
2. To help the public to select better and more trustworthy domestic workers.
3. To do our bit in reducing crime rate in society.
4. To reduce the rate at which nannies and domestic workers change roles and houses they work in. If these domestic workers realise that the public are on to them, then the high staff turnover of domestic staff will begin to reduce.

There are a lot more helpful tips, stories and experiences to learn from on our website and more importantly the mission and vision of the initiative.

By Ronke Adeniyi
Founder - Helps from Hell Initiative
Website -
Telephone - 0810 285 4056


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