Cyprus Mail

Uproar over domestic worker-linked school raffle prize

File photo

By Andria Kades

THE parents’ association of Araddipou A primary school came under fire on Monday after a winning prize in their Christmas raffle was a voucher which could be used to cover the costs of bringing a domestic worker to Cyprus from overseas.

Condemned by the education ministry which branded it as “unacceptable”, the parents’ association were quick to say the matter had been blown out of proportion and misrepresented.

Reports saying “a domestic worker was the prize of a draw” were completely incorrect, vice chairman of the association Minas Efthimiou told the Cyprus Mail.

“This was wrongly portrayed.”

Rather, the prize was a voucher which would cover the service charges for a company which arranges, amongst other things, the bringing over of domestic workers to Cyprus.

Efthimiou said the company’s services also include real estate and bringing workers to work on farms.

If the winner – in this case a primary school student – sought to hire a domestic worker, the procedure of bringing them from overseas would be paid by the company. This would include immigration costs.

Upon arrival and receipt of official documents, it would be the winner’s responsibility to pay the employee every month.

“What would a child do with this raffle prize?” primary education chief from the ministry Elpidoforos Neocleous asked Sigma TV.

In over 35 years working in teaching, Neocleous said this was the first time he had come across something of the sort “and I have to say this is condemnable.”

Seeking to distance the ministry from the events, he stressed that parents’ associations are advised to choose raffle prizes with discretion and common sense, “not these kinds of presents that are unacceptable and cause public outcry at a time where we have children facing financial difficulties.”

Parents associations are also advised to steer away from promoting certain products.

“Logic says presents worth two, three or five euro should be put in the raffle and go to a child, possibly a poor child,” making them happy during the festive season, he added.

“The children were meant to get presents and be happy not create a problem. There is no excuse….we have to be very, very careful over these matters,” Neocleous said.

“I am sure the school headmaster has nothing to do with this. This is the parents’ association dealings,” he stressed.

The Cyprus Mail has learned the same company which offered the contested gift, also participated last year but did not include the domestic worker services.

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