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#WeAreMigrants Feature: Wendelyn N. in the United Kingdom

Wendelyn N.

United Kingdom

Carer age group: 30 to 39 years old

1. What YEAR did you first become a migrant and what was the REASON behind your migration?

My Ex-husband and I separated in 2012, although we did not divorce and we did not tell the family that we had separated, although relations among the family members were very strained at this point and my sister in law asked me to leave her house in 2012 and I promised to myself that I gonna build my own house and save money for my family so that no one can tell me to get out of their house. That was the most unforgettable moment of my past life until I met the father of my youngest.

In March 2015, I started looking at domestic worker positions in Hong Kong and Saudi Arabia.I was offered a position in Saudi Arabia doing domestic work eight hours per day, six days a week, for a salary of $450 USD (£361 GBP) per month. I left the Philippines last September 2015. My salary as a call centre worker was very low - only 12,000 PHP (£194 GBP) a month - and the work was seasonal so I never had a steady wage. My goal was to buy my own house and send my children to school, as well as help my mother who is elderly and cannot work.

2. What was the BIGGEST CHALLENGE that you've had to OVERCOME as a migrant?

Leaving my family behind was the most painful decision of my life especially when I left my youngest sleeping and when she woke up she's looking for me.

I also overcome the treatment of my employers towards me. Things were not as I expected. Ignoring the contract terms entirely, the family expected me to work almost twenty-four hours per day, seven days a week, with no breaks allowed. I took breaks lying down on the stairs when my employer was not watching, but if someone was coming I would stand up quickly, so I would not be reprimanded for resting on the stairs. Even if I was sick I had to continue working, cleaning the house from top to bottom and doing the cooking, laundry and ironing. The family members also accused me of stealing my employer’s daughter’s phone and threatened to call the police. I could not eat properly because I was scared that I would be imprisoned. I had heard that the Saudi government cut the hands off people who committed crimes. Even though I finished my 2 year computer course they always called me that I don't have a mind. They never call me by my name instead animal, dog and pig. It really hurts but you can't do anything but to accept it.

3. What makes you PROUD to be a migrant?

It was difficult and I did not like being far away from my family. But I am proud as a Migrant Domestic Worker because I am helping my loved ones, I can give what my children want and I am helping some Filipinos and some of my fellow Domestic Workers here in the UK. My salary provides the needs of my family. The shelter and their education. I don't want them to experience what I am experiencing right now.

Without Migrant Domestic Worker, people in the foreign country cannot go to work, their businesses, who are gonna look after their children and their elderly and they cannot socialize with their friends. We can paralyze their country if they don't hire Migrant Workers. That is why I am so proud of being Migrant Domestic Workers. I also curious about getting to know the world, learn new things, and have new experiences.

The choice to move to the other country allowed me to work, but also to learn about and join one of the few associations that were concerned with workers’ rights, and particularly domestic workers’ rights, at the time and I can't do these things if I'm in the Philippines. These things also make me a strong woman and I can share this to my children.

Wendelyn's House

4. Tell us about a migrant-focused organization whose work you love and why!

Im working with the Voice of Domestic Workers and TAYO! These organisations thought me the importance of saving and value myself and fight the rights of Domestic Workers.

This feature is one of the entries to our #WeAreMigrants Contest - in celebration of International Migrants Day 2020.

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