November 22, 2021, 05.07 PM
An illustration of heart-shaped rainbow flag. SHUTTERSTOCKAn illustration of heart-shaped rainbow flag.

English says she is “happy that I’m in the position to help others. It makes my life more meaningful.”

The FKWI Laundry employs three full-time workers, including Oma Dona, and several part-time workers. Each received training for operating the machines so everyone can do everything.

“Here, we cooperate. If one of us is not healthy, another takes over,” said Oma Dona.
Mami Yuli supervises the operation. “I taught them how to manage basic finances, how to maintain quality, and how to deal with customers.”

FKWI Laundry charges about 50 cents for each kilogram of clothes, enough for the workers to earn about $35 a month.

Although that’s less than the minimum wage, Oma Dona, who once worked as a waiter, said the pay works for her. “I have enough clothing and everything else,” she said. “What else do I need? Now I'm just enjoying the rest of my time in this world.”

She, like the others, finds hope and dignity in operating the business.

“It has been very positive,” said Mami Yuli. “They can take turns working. … They are no longer busking or begging on the streets, now they can contribute to something useful.”

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