Thursday, March 29, 2012

"Czechs, do you know who tidies up your house?"

A Ukrainian friend of mine forwarded me this video yesterday. It is a part of the campaign in defense of rights of Ukrainians that do domestic work in the Czech Republic (most of them are women). According to campaign organizers, Ukrainian women that work in Czech homes usually do not know their rights [ukr] and are frequently mistreated by their employers.

The video portrays a Ukrainian cleaner who is being yelled at by the Czech teenager for misplacing papers from his desk, which results in him being unable to complete his math home work on time. In the end, the cleaning lady picks up his assignments and solves equations in a few minutes. Turns out, she is a math teacher from Lviv. The video ends with a question, “Czechs, do you know who tidies up your house?”

A friend who forwarded it to me said that the video had involuntarily struck a sad chord with her, reminding of the fate of her grandfather’s sister, who’s been taken to Germany for forced labor during the war.  There, she was tending the cattle on a farm until one day she had helped the family’s child to complete a math assignment. After that helping children with their homework became her sole obligation.