LOOK CLOSER: How to Recognize Unsung Heroes

Ai-jen Poo wants to make you see the invisible. All around you are invisible people—people who are caring for others, parents, siblings, grandparents.

Jay Newton-Small - Time

Sometimes that’s a full time job, most often unpaid; sometimes it’s a part time or second job—an enormous responsibility the moment they walk in the door at night. Sometimes, caregivers are hired; other times families bear the burden. You may glimpse the faces of caregivers in the street or at your office or whilst running chores, but Poo’s goal is for you to see them for the unsung heroes they are.

“We often times don’t even think of care work as real it’s referred as ‘help’ or ‘companionship’,” Poo tells TIME. “Once you’ve become aware of it, all of a sudden it’s everywhere. What we have to do is figure out how to encourage people to make visible the relationship in our lives.”

Poo has spent her life helping get caregivers more recognition. Between organizing Asian, Caribbean, Latina and African nannies, housekeepers, and elderly caregivers in New York when she founded the Domestic Workers United in 2000 to her 2015 bestselling book, The Age of Dignity: Preparing for the Elder Boom in a Changing America, Poo has been a longtime advocate for legions of invisible people. READ MORE

Photo: Routine activities of a domestic worker in Jakarta, Indonesia. Photo Credit: These photos are part of the photo stories on domestic workers produced by Indonesian youth in Jakarta and Makassar, more information here.