Some of the challenges that migrant domestic workers face are loneliness and social isolation. These things are especially difficult for new women MDWs who come from cultures or communities with strong family ties or social support networks.
Nevertheless, MDWs have found ways to support each other mentally and emotionally, especially during these times when restrictions are in place due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. Oftentimes, older women MDWs take the younger ones under their wings and act as surrogate “moms” by giving advice on work and finances, important information, and much needed encouragement.
Some members of our community remember and honor the women who acted as their mothers when they started on their MDW journey*:
“My agent in Singapore. . . when I was so homesick and every night I was crying she gave me advice. . . I’ve kept in touch with (her)...”
“My Indian friend when I was working in Riyadh. She helped me a lot. She took care of me when I got sick. She prepared food for me and gave me advice.”
“My aunty. Kahit hindi ko siya totoong aunty, siya yun mother ko dito. (Even if she isn’t my real aunt, she is like my mother here.) She is British-Filipino.”
“Yun kasama ko dati sa bahay na may edad na at ibang lahi (My co-worker in the household who was older and had a different nationality) - treated me like a daughter, helped me at work, and let me use her phone to call home. She understood how hard it was for me because it was my first time to work abroad and be separated from my children. I can’t forget her. With her, my homesickness was gone. I learned things that I had no idea about in a new country. The things she taught me, I still carry today.” [paraphrased, translated]
“The persons who acted as my moms when I first became a migrant worker are Ate Marissa Begonia and Georgina Velasco. They helped me with everything — they gave me shelter and support and work and they especially fought for my rights. I don't know what would have happened to me without Ate Marissa. 😢 When I first became a migrant I was sooo scared and nervous, it was all mixed emotions. When my employer reported me to the police Ate Marissa and Georgina were there to help me. They helped me with the police and my employer. They have played an important part in my life and because of these wonderful people I am the person that I am today. I'm so thankful for everything they've done for me. They both were like moms to me. I wish them their happiness and good health. God bless them more. Happy Mother’s Day!” - Lyn
On behalf of the TAYO community, we want to greet all MDW mothers, in all their forms of motherhood, a very happy Mother’s Day! Maraming salamat!
*Quotes edited for clarity