Belittled Cleaners Seek Respect

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By Petronella Sibeene WINDHOEK TO help reduce the ‘belittling’ of cleaners by some people in higher positions, the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare yesterday concluded a three-day workshop on how to tackle this problem. The workshop focused on what measures cleaners should resort to when their superiors approach them with a negative attitude. According to the owner of the company involved in the workshop KwiCO Namibia Training, Tubby Kaaijk, most people never realise the importance of cleaners and what their job entails. Despite the low status attached to the job most members of society, Kaaijk says, do not realise cleaning is among the most important jobs in any institution as it deals with hygiene. “We have spent three-quarters of the time on attitude because I believe if the attitude is right from both the cleaners’ side and their superiors, cleaners will do their work with great enthusiasm,” he said. The twelve participants were reminded that evaluating the current attitudes could change any bad attitude. “Attitude is nothing more than a mind habit. It is just as easy to develop habits to be successful than to throw in the towel of failure,” Kaaijk suggested. According to the Deputy Director of General Services in the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare Kornelius Kapenda, the ministry has 35 cleaners countrywide and 23 will undergo training in February. “We have learnt a lot from this workshop. We now know how to clean different surfaces and with what chemical. We promise to clean to the best of the knowledge we have acquired from this training”, stated Kaliens Kuwinga. In addition to the negative attitudes displayed by some superiors, the cleaners also complained about low salaries. According to them, though they might not necessarily have gone far in terms of education, what they get should be something that would allow them to survive. Most cleaners earn between N$1 000 and N$1 200 per month. The twelve were presented with certificates. KwiCO has been in existence since 1987 under the name Fire Camp and it trains people in hygiene and the use of cleaning chemicals.