Ottawa's Black Pioneers: The West Indian Domestics Scheme, Melissa Rowe - Part 2 of 3





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Published on Feb 25, 2012

Ottawa's Black Pioneers
The West Indian Domestics Scheme

A Canadian government scheme to recruit female domestics of African descent was established in 1955. Most applicants came from Jamaica, Barbados, Trinidad and British Guiana. To be eligible, an applicant had to be a single female in good health aged between eighteen and thirty-five. After working as a domestic for at least a year, a West Indian Domestic woman would be granted landed immigrant status. Since a number of these women already had previous professional qualifications, they left domestic work and had successful careers in other fields.
Here are the stories of some Ottawa women who migrated to Canada under this program.

Interview with:
Melissa Rowe
Former domestic, West Indian Domestic Scheme

Special Thanks to:
Nigel Antoine
Ken Campbell
Mae Fagan
Sylvia Gayle
Daisy Gordon
Patrick Martin
Ruby Martin
Phyllis Pinnock
Florence Robinson
Joanne Robinson
Barbara Wilson

Sarah Onyango

Filmed and Edited by:

This video series is a joint project between Jaku Konbit and Black History Ottawa with financial assistance from the City of Ottawa.

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