Antivirus Episode #5

Here is the transcript of our Facebook Live on Thursday 23rd April to help our community of migrant domestic workers go through COVID-19 challenges.

Hi everyone, I am Jenely, Uplifters Community Building Officer.

Uplifters is a non profit organization dedicated to empowering underprivileged communities with online education and peer support. We offer a free online money management course for domestic workers. You just need to click “ Send Message” on our Facebook page to enroll. https://www.facebook.com/uplifters.community/

This is the fifth episode of our Antivirus series and we are very happy to be here with you tonight.

Our objective with this Antivirus Video Live is first to reply to your questions if we can or collect them and consult with professionals afterwards so we can answer them later. Secondly, we just want to be there with you. Uplifters is first and foremost a community and we will go through these difficult times with you.

Today we want to take a break from the sad news and get to know one of the strong and courageous women in the Uplifters community.

Our guest for tonight is Jaybie Pagarigan. She is a mountain climber, trail runner and one of the leaders of Hong Kong hiking Meetup. She has been featured in many newspapers for her achievements including in the New York Times!

Hi Jaybie, welcome to our live broadcast. Thank you so much for joining us tonight.

Q. Why did you choose trail running as a sport? Tell me about your training and your preparation for mountain climbing.

Jaybie: I’m not keen on running before. Because of poverty and depression I run to destress and save money of course. Being away from my family is really difficult. I found running is the best thing for me to help me out. Running is not just a sport for me. It was a way for me to change my life and to be treated as an equal. Being a poor person you never had equal treatment. In the running community, you feel equal to other people because you are treated as an equal. I meet people with the same passion. They helped me to be where I am now. I wake up early to do my training. I just run on my own. I go to a place that has no people around. Waking up early is advisable. My employer is also very supportive of me. We should always show initiative. My boss told me that if I didn’t like to go out on my day off, I could do something like hiking, so they advised me and showed me a map of the trails. Since then, I became very busy on Sundays.

Q. We have sisters here in our community who are avid hikers. Can you give us some tips on how to be physically fit, active and strong?

Jaybie: Self discipline is very important. I wake up at 3.30 am and climb up to 29 floors in our building. I don’t use the lift. I make sure that I exercise, have a good sleep and eat healthy food. There are many indoor sports you can do at home especially in the current situation like yoga and CrossFit. I run inside the house during my quarantine.

Q. You also organize charity hikes and meet ups. Tell me more about these activities.

Jaybie: As an organizer, I can freely organize charity events that can help someone who needs financial support. I organize hike, yoga and running events to help those who are in need.

Q. Can you tell me how you save money when you worked in Greece as a domestic worker?

Jaybie: Working in Greece was not easy. I had two jobs. I was a full time domestic worker and my boss owns a bakery. I was desperate to save money so when my boss gave me money for transportation, I did not take the bus. I have to run the save the money for transportation. That’s how I saved money.

Q. As an Uplifters alumni, are there changes in your life after you did our free online course Dare to Dream course? How did the course help you?

Jaybie: Uplifters totally changed my life. As a breadwinner of the family you have to support everyone. Through Uplifters, I have learned how to manage money. I learned how to communicate with my family and how to say no in a nice way without hurting their feelings. If I did not join Uplfiters, I may just keep helping them and they might become lazy and won’t care about saving or working since they know I can support them. In the beginning it was hard for them to believe that i could just let them work without my support but in the end they realized I have a point and they understood my situation. I’m happy that I helped them to help themselves. It’s the same with friends who wanted to borrow money. Because of Uplifters, I learned to say no to them in a nice way. Uplifters is not just about the free online course. They uplift domestic workers to have a better life. It’s a free education to uplift yourself. It is a privilege to learn for free.

What are your dreams and aspirations for the future?

Jaybie: I’m looking forward to spend some time with my family. I left my son when he was 8 months old. I’ve been away working for 15 years. I did not see him grow up. My wish is to have my own business. I’m not going to be a domestic worker forever. I’m looking forward to having my own business. My dream is for my two boys to graduate from college. For now, I managed to buy properties. I want to travel with my boys so they can explore the world. My goals are to master the 125 peaks, climb the highest mountain in Hong Kong and to travel the world by joining the trailing race. Climbing mountains is not a joke. It is very challenging but I really like the idea of seeing myself finish the goal. Even if I don’t get a prize, that’s a big accomplishment already. I think that running is similar to a life obstacle that I have to survive and persevere through to get to the top.

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