in collaboration with Ministry of Manpower Singapore (2016)

One out of five households in Singapore today employ foreign domestic workers (FDWs). Recently, there has been an increasing number of cases of relationship breakdown between the employer families and FDWs before fulfilling the default contract period, i.e. 2 years. 

What are the possible reasons for the relationship breakdowns? 

How can design help to achieve a healthy and long-lasting relationship between the two parties?

7 student groups explored the identified problem for 11 weeks by creating new service concepts and prototypes. New service concepts delve into areas of ‘better matching’, ‘setting of mutual expectations and relevant training programmes’, ‘settling-in and training at home and effective day-to-day communication’ and future possibilities for ‘direct employment’. 

Some of these ideas are now being developed for real-world implementation in collaboration with Ministry of Manpower.  


PICkit is designed to restructure how first time foreign domestic workers (FDW) experience the introduction to the household. The kit separates the common practice into 3 clear steps to guide the employers in educating their FDWs. Firstly, guidelines and stickers ensure the ease of giving instructions for the first time and accommodates to the different learning curves of FDWs. Secondly, the setting of house rules has been tailored to encourage more consideration and flexibility. Finally, the progress chart projects the different stages the FDW may face in her work and encourages skill improvements by introducing training courses.



Project by Chan Wing Kei, Huang Yixuan, Jomains Neo & Shanti Alberti


Basic training provided to the domestic helpers is currently inadequate to cater to the increasingly specialized needs of Singapore’s society. This problem is further compounded by the fact that there is a lack of awareness on the available avenues for further training.

Hence, enGrow is introduced as a needs based, specialized training course directory that employers can access to enroll their domestic helpers in. It taps on existing relevant courses and offers a one stop platform for employers to easily access, enquire and sign up via an online portal or physical brochures. These courses are carefully selected by MOM according to the current pressing needs that most families have which can be reviewed from time to time to cater to the ever changing needs.

As such, enGrow would diminish the rift between the employers and foreign domestic helper through the increased levels of specialised skillsets. Thus, fostering a healthy and harmonious relationship.


Project by Esli Ee, Edmund Zhang & Ellvixson Yap


With the current system, information provided by the employment agencies are not standardize throughout and are insufficient for both the employer and helper to make a good decision during the hiring process.

The Integrated Employment Portal is a platform that allows employers to match with their most compatible helpers under the suitable agency with the help of preference questionnaires, detailed bio data, agency rating and customer reviews. We strongly believe that a better match leads to a better working relationship.


Project by Wilmer Tay, Chan Shi Ming & John Teo


UNDER ONE ROOF is a communication toolkit designed to aid and guide employers and their family through the initial phase of FDW employment. Ultimately, to build a healthy and sustainable relationship at a day-to-day level of interaction.
Other than educating the employers in the orientation phase, family members will be included to learn how to manage and build a healthy relationship the FDW.
Information is synthesised into three parts - bite-sized cards that can be easily passed around for the family's use, a step-by-step guide for employers to orientate their FDW upon their arrival into their new homes, and a common planner serves as a central means of communication for the whole family. Under One Roof educates and guides employers and their families, nurturing more open communication and mutual understanding with their FDW.


Project by Kenneth Yip, Khoo Yin Qi & Cheryl Ho


Many locals instinctively turn to EAs to hire FDWs because it is the norm. MOM Intouch is designed to create awareness about the direct hiring of transfer FDWs.

This method reduces debt burden and employers’ “value-for-money” mentality, and allows for face-to-face interviews, thereby fostering a relationship built on open communication from the start.

By leveraging on existing enablers (MOM website, EOP, SMS, letters and social media), MOM Intouch makes information delivery clearer and more time-relevant for both new and existing employers.

Small progressive changes for better matches and long lasting social impact.


Project by Andriana Justine Zainal, Teresa Khoo & Ching Soon Tiac 


A revitalized version of the default template biodata provided by MOM, the humanised biodata aims to provide better matching for employers and their FDWs through a revitalised biodata that corrects glaring flaws in the current template biodata, as well as providing unique additions that address the changing nature of the industry with its large shift from household chores to caregiving.

Having found that most employers care for good character instead of skillsets, the humanised biodata seeks to bridge the gap between this particular want, and the inability of current biodata to cater due to its nature of showcasing FDWs through pure statistical data.


Project by Desiree Lim, Ng Tse Pei & Amanda Swee


First time employers are not readily equipped at the right time with the relevant materials to train their Foreign Domestic Workers (FDW) when they arrive at their home. Bridging the Gap is a solution that provides relevant information at the right time.

It revolves around the concept of:  

  1. Identifying general needs and priorities for hiring an FDW and the qualities and abilities that the FDW has.

  2. Investigating specific needs and task to be done by the FDW

  3. Implementing the solution during the training period with these identified tasks emphasised.

Bridging the Gap helps shorten the initial adjustment period by improving the training process. It helps employers to set realistic expectations, create a personal training program and provide both employers and FDWs with tools to teach and learn necessary skills efficiently.


Project by Wilson Teo, Shubhangi Paul & Louise Goacher