Jhoan’s story: from a caterpillar to a butterfly

Today meet Jhoan, one of our fantastic Diamond Team leaders. You might have spotted some of her great artwork exhibited at the latest Guhit Kulay last December 2019. Jhoan is from the Philippines and moved to Hong Kong 4 years ago. She has two siblings back home. 

“I moved to Hong Kong to escape a bad relationship. I first had to live in my cousin’s house whilst preparing for this new start. Moving here was a way out and a new opportunity. 

I work here as a domestic helper for a local family of 4, with 2 adults and 2 kids. They’re nice and very supportive of what I do, in terms of my spare time activities and hobbies. The one thing that was hard to adjust to was the workload. During my days off I like doing photography and I also do sketches and drawing, it’s my way of relaxing.

I found out about Uplifters whilst browsing the internet. I joined the course because it’s not just a free money management course but it’s also a personal growth course. That really appealed to me. Uplifters gave me the confidence to do things I was too shy to do before, it dared me to dream bigger. If I had to pick an image to illustrate my life before Uplifters It would be a caterpillar. After Uplifters, I became a butterfly. A butterfly because it represents change, hope and new life. 

Being a team leader has given me the opportunity to develop friendships online. I’ve also become more understanding of other people’s lives and their struggles. I enjoy watching the students complete the challenges and getting their certificate. It feels particularly great hearing them say afterwards that the course helped them and changed their way of handling their hard-earned money.  

This picture illustrates my journey

My dream is to work as a full-time photographer, travel the world and get paid for what I do! I really look up to friends who’ve given up their job and are working full time as a photographer, doing what they love. 

When I feel low, I take a break and pause for a couple of minutes and ask myself why I feel this way, and sometimes I remove myself from the situation and go out by myself for a little while. The motto that keeps me going is “Nothing is permanent. Don’t stress yourself out too much because no matter how bad the situation is, it will change. Your struggle is just a preparation for a better you.”

Thank you Jhoan! 

Jhoan is one of our Diamond team leaders who’s facilitated 10 sessions of “Dare to Dream”, Uplifters 3-week signature online course on money management and personal growth.

To sign up to Uplifters’ Dare to Dream course, like our Facebook page and click ‘Send Message’. 

The most efficient way to support our work is to become a monthly donor, with only USD 10 (HKD 80) a month, you sponsor 1 hour of online money management and personal development course for a woman like Jhoan: donate.

Congratulations to our 2019 “Make it Happen” students

A big round of applause to our students who completed their “Make it Happen” online course and received their certificates. For 6 months they have worked towards reaching their personal and financial life goals. Many thanks to their team leaders who supported them throughout their journey!

Amirotul Lutfiyah

Andria Mejala

Angeline Sealsa

Ayu Sari

Babylyn Abasa

Carolyn Cacayan

Catherine S. Alimagno

Cecile Flores

Chelamy Recomes

Dina Agustin

Donna Rita Sadio

Edna Remasog

Efresenia Francis

Elvira Mosada

Endah Purnamasari

Elvira Cunanan

Evelyn Obillo

Fidelisa Delima

Freda Payod

Gegerma Montero

Gerie Mae Asuelo

Gigi Lingao Blanco

Glenda Lomabong

Haryanti Mawanto

Inocencia Zerrudo

Janelyn Dupingay

Janelyn Magtagad

Jhoan Laureano

Joahnna Tolosa

Jo Anne Dell Cuna

Josephine Brillantes

Juliet Madrillo

Juliet Rosiana

Julieta Laylo

Lea Jean Hernandez

Levy Novero

Liza Natividad

Lorna Ferolino

Lovely Erezo

Lyra May

Maria Cristina Eugenio

Maria Luisa Angupa

Maria Reyna Astellero

Maryan Caronan Salvoro

Mary Anne C. Casamina

Mary Grace Arsenal

Mary June Arendain

Marylin Lavilla

May Cristobal

Maylene Maylas

Melanie Lim -ang

Michelle Malaga

Michelle Sanguenza

Minerva Melecotones

Nanette Bernabe

Nelie Bautista Olino

Parida Lutfi Tauzirie

Rachelle Panfilo

Relita F. Pascua

Richel Depol

Rubi Yanti

Siti Mujuati

Suki Yahkie

Sulis Utami

Sunshine Rosemary

Syarifitriyah rahmani

Tae Tae Margaret

Tina Esmas

Happy International Migrant Workers Day!

“Being a migrant worker is not something I dreamt of to be, but it’s something I am proud to be.”

For the International Migrant Workers Day, we asked our community what makes them happy despite the hardships they face!

We created a giant smile with their photos and you can read more below about what makes them smile in their migration journeys.

Read more of their reasons to smile below:
Having achieved some of my goals in my last 5 years ♥️ Being a mother makes me smile & seeing my kids grow up even from a distance ♥️ Being treated well by my employer and treated as one of their family ♥️ Remembering my dreams and planning for them ♥️ Being the reason for someone else’s smile today! ♥️ Remembering how much I’ve grown in the last 5 years as a FDW ♥️When hard work which is sweat becomes sweet ♥️Knowing that I’m also empowering fellow women makes me smile ♥️ Being able to meet different people from different countries and seeing places I’d never thought I would see ♥️ Knowing that my daughter and my son are doing well in their studies ♥️ The opportunity to grow personally and becoming a better version of me ♥️Knowing what I’ve done so far, the difficulties I’ve overcome and everything I’ve learnt ♥️ Smiling is a good deed ♥️ My job as a care worker ♥️ Smiling is worshipping too ♥️ Smile is the best medicine for stress ♥️A simple smile can make everyone happy ♥️ Smiling makes you feel better ♥️ Having a good employer, living in a good country, having family and friends ♥️ My daughter is the reason why I keep smiling despite all the struggles being OFW ♥️ Being a proud mother to my 3 daughters ♥️ My smile is one of my best assets ♥️I want to inspire my fellow migrant workers to use their smile as a tool to fight stress at work ♥️ My employer says my smile gives them a beautiful start to the day ♥️ Hearing my mom’s voice very happy and excited as her wish will be granted ♥️I smile the most when talking to my family especially my grandchildren ♥️ Whenever I help anyone in need it makes me smile with joy ♥️ I smile every day because I am working safe in Singapore ♥️Being surrounded by happy people ♥️Gratefulness for being able to work as a migrant worker and contributing a lot to my home country ♥️ Sustaining my family’s needs and boosting the economy in my country ♥️ Being a domestic worker helps us create our dreams Don’t let your dream disappear because your employers wake u up ♥️ Smiling is my best pain reliever ♥️ Smile is the best way to overcome tension ♥️ When you smile to everyone, it will lift their spirits too so keep on smiling ♥️ Smiling everyday helps me take all my worries away ♥️ Smiling is worshipping ♥️ Thanks to Uplifters I’ve dared to dream to have a better life ♥️ Being healthy so I can continue to support my family and reach my future dream… ♥️ Smile for the hard work you’ve done for your loved ones back home, but don’t forget to work for your own goal ♥️ Smile and the whole world will smile with you! ♥️ Being a migrant worker is not something I dreamt of to be, but it’s something I am proud to be ♥️

Become an uplifter too!
With only 80 HKD a month, you can support courageous women like them in building the lives they want for themselves. We offer free money management and personal development online courses to domestic workers.

Maylene’s story: from empty jar to jar half full

Read Maylene’s story, a 39-year-old Philippino domestic worker in Singapore, from a victim of abuse to recovery.  You’ll learn how little by little, she’s built her own path to fulfilment. Uplifters helped her ignite her self-belief and we are delighted of how she’s grown professionally, saved money and made friends along the way! 

Be inspired by her resilience… and also learn her special tricks to take care of elderly people 🙂 ! 

“Before I came abroad my life was like an empty jar and I didn’t know whether I could still dare to dream.

I was a victim of abuse when I was younger and I’m still learning to move on. It impacted my studies and I failed my degree because of it, I couldn’t concentrate. I felt I had failed my mum too by failing my degree but thankfully my mum understood when I told her everything. I then went on to work, had my 3 children, but everything was very tough financially and personally. So after a few years, I decided to move abroad to work. 

I care for elderly people here – I even had to revive my 1st employer 3 times after he had a heart attack! 

When I first arrived in Singapore six years ago, I didn’t have any experience caring for elderly people. My 1st employer had heart problems, I saw him having a heart attack and had to revive him myself but I had no training nor any experience of doing this. I learnt from watching YouTube videos and from watching the medics. In these situations, I’ve learnt not to panic, stay calm and just call the medics.

I’ve also had to handle patients with a very bad temper! I had a hard time, at the beginning especially. I kept telling myself that I needed to prove myself I could handle it and show patience, but it can be very hard with some elderly people!

My tip is that if they’re moody just leave them alone for a bit for them to calm down and then slowly talk to them. They can often get frustrated because they can no longer do the things they used to do, so I remind them of the importance of letting go of some things  – it’s the circle of life. I try to find things to make them laugh, things we can share together. So over time, I’ve discovered my own way of handling my patients’ bad mood”.  

In addition to the professional expertise she’s gained here working with the elderly, Maylene has also been able to provide for family back home. 

“Every month I send money home to my mum to help with medicine – I’m an only child. I also give my children an allowance but I only give them what they need. My husband is also working at home and I don’t want them to get too dependent on me. I discovered with Uplifters that I don’t need to be too soft in every situation and spoil them too much. I’ve also learnt that I don’t need to depend on others in my life.  

My dream house

I’m thinking of the future and of my business plan, which I think might be a food business. I’ve invested in some cows back home, some tricycles and I have a little bit of savings.

Peer support is a big part of Uplifters’ courses, so in the process of learning money-management, she’s also been able to build friendships with her fellow students. 

“I joined Uplifters because I wanted to save money but I also wanted to make friends. I really enjoyed doing the Dare to Dream course because I was able to handle it in my own time. I learnt a lot about saving but I was also able to chat with other students and we kept in touch afterwards, especially with my fellow students from my first Dare to Dream course. It was great to be able to support each other during the course, great to hear about different people’s experiences and great to share ways to change things from negative to positive. We built up a friendship – we came from different countries, with different beliefs, and it has reinforced my respect for all cultures. I was so happy to meet them. I don’t have Sundays off so it can be difficult to meet up in person often but we’ve still managed to find a way to do it. 

So little by little I’ve been filling my jar with friends, learning and savings and I think it’s about half full now!” 

Thank you so much, Maylene. Maylene is one of our Diamond team leaders who’s facilitated 10 sessions of “Dare to Dream”, Uplifters 3-week long signature online course on money management and personal growth.

Ayu in her journey of financial independence, self-discovery and personal growth

Ayu at Uplifters's 1st year anniversary
Ayu at Uplifters 1st year anniversary

Today meet Ayu, one of our very 1st students who pilot-tested our 1st program, and now one of our Diamond team leaders who’s facilitated 10 sessions of “Dare to Dream”, Uplifters 3-week signature online course on money management and personal growth.  She’s a 47 years old Indonesian domestic worker in Singapore, and mom to two young adults. 

She was aware of Uplifters as she had met Uplifters’ Founder Marie when she was working at Aidha in Singapore, a non-profit organisation which helps foreign domestic workers and low-income Singaporean women achieve economic independence through financial education, wealth creation and entrepreneurship.

“I joined Uplifters almost two years ago and together with Aidha, it has helped me achieve a goal each year

– The 1st year my achievement was saving for my mom’s pilgrimage in UEA for her 74 years old present. 

– The 2nd year I bought my own piece of land. 

Ayu's dream tree house
Ayu’s dream treehouse

This coming 3rd year, I plan to build a small treehouse on my land, with a bedroom, a bathroom and a kitchen. That’s all I need. I don’t see the point of big houses as they cost you more money, but also time and energy to clean and take care of them!

I’m sharing this in the hope of inspiring more domestic workers to be successful by improving their financial knowledge. I really recommend this course because it teaches you important tools to fix the financial issues every family has. It’s a free and simple way to learn to budget. I even teach it to my boss’s kids and they are very happy to learn about it because it teaches them that if we work hard when we are young, we’ll enjoy the fruit of our work when we retire and we won’t need to worry anymore

What’s also unique about Uplifters are the class chats where students can share their difficulties and motivate each other without fear of being judged. As a team leader, I’ve also learnt how to encourage people to work together as a team. 

Ayu on her personal growth journeyManaging your mind and feelings is important too and helps you grow as a person.

Thanks to Uplifters “Dare to Dream” course I discovered a lot about myself: who I am and how can I control my mind to be in a more positive place. When you’re on a positive track, it helps you see things from a different perspective.

Life as a domestic worker is not easy and even if we look happy, it’s sometimes just a cover, as we often hide our struggles. It is hard to adjust to new employers demands whilst missing your own family.  And when we’re sick nobody really cares, the job still needs to be done, so we have to be physically and mentally strong.” 

This constant need to carry on and keep on growing despite the hardships thrown at you is captured beautifully by Ayu in this wonderful tree analogy: 

Tree“I was growing like a tree but my branches were always cut down by people around me. But I kept on growing to get more fruit to share with people in need. I got bigger but every so often my fruits, leaves and branches were chopped away again. But thankfully I know my roots are deep in the ground and help me to become strong and grow again.”

Discover more about Ayu in this video.

In Siti’s opinion, continuous learning is the key to success

Today meet Siti, one of our students and team leaders. She is a 33-year-old Indonesian domestic worker in Singapore and a proud single mom of two teenagers.

(N.B. All our Uplifters Team Leaders are alumni students supporting new ones in their studies and we’re so grateful for their help!)

“I have a message for my fellow Indonesian domestic workers. Dare more! Dare to join Uplifters and to try online courses.

I was a very shy person: really not confident because I did not have a high education level. My English was so bad and I thought I was not capable of much as I was “just” working as a domestic worker. So at first, I thought online courses were not for me but I am so happy I finally changed my mind because I was so wrong about it!

I came to Singapore in 2012 when the factory where I used to work in my hometown closed down.  It was really hard at first as I had an 8.5 months salary deduction to cover my hiring costs. I missed my two daughters a lot especially as I could only call them once a month. As a single mom, it was really difficult to leave them. My employers were fair but never cared so much about my feelings. 

 I heard about Uplifters thanks to my Facebook friends. I was excited to see it’s about empowerment as I had a big lack of confidence before. Now I feel much stronger and the confidence I gained at Uplifters I know want to share it with my fellow domestic workers as a way to give back. I am proud that recently I helped a friend find a new employer by herself (direct hire). I helped her post an ad, prepare for the interviews and supported her throughout the entire process. I am also volunteering my time at CDE (Center for Domestic Employees).

Thanks to Uplifters, I am able to communicate better and of course, having more savings makes me feel better and happier. I have a real passion for learning and I believe that even if you are not born with many talents, nothing stops you from developing them.

In addition to Uplifters, I’m also a student and volunteer at Aidha (a non-profit organisation helping domestic workers and low-income women in Singapore to achieve financial independence through financial education) and I believe they are very complementary. Online courses make education available to those who cannot attend face-to-face classes.

In the next 2 years, I want to have my own land for my future dream: build a hydroponics farm. I want this farm not only to produce veggies but to also include an education centre and a garden cafe for my community back home.

I am really happy that finally, my hands are good at something and that I can have a positive impact on the people around me.”

Portrait of Evelyn, one of our amazing Team leaders…

By Marie Kretz Di Meglio, Uplifters Founder. “Today, I want to introduce you to Evelyn, one of our “gold team leaders” (alumni students supporting new ones) at Uplifters. I initially got to know Evelyn through a Facebook group for domestic workers in Singapore and I was really impressed by her sound advice to fellow domestic workers. She has a very balanced perspective on domestic workers – employers relationships and she does not hesitate to remind domestic workers that they came abroad to work, not for holidays and that they should also honour their part of the contract!
On top of guiding domestic workers online, Evelyn has been volunteering for a long time at Home and now the Centre for Domestic Employees – CDE. Her dedication to helping others is truly admirable.

Don’t be abused by her humbleness,she is one of a kind and a true inspiration for me.

I was genuinely interested in her feedback about our money management and personal growth courses and very happy she found them helpful for herself even though she was already well aware of these topics. Our Student Success Volunteer, Anne, interviewed her and I will let you now hear her story in her own words. “

Evelyn is a 47-year-old Filipino, single mother to four young adults. She describes herself as a shy person, who is usually quiet if not familiar with the people around her, but once she’s comfortable with her environment she becomes compassionate, empathetic, positive and passionate about helping others. And we can guarantee you the passionate side!

“I came from a poor family and didn’t have the means to go to college. When I had my kids, I vowed to myself that I would do everything to give them a better future. When the opportunity knocked, I jumped at it and became a migrant domestic worker.

I’ve been working here in Singapore for 17 years. When I first came to Singapore, it was pretty hard. I’ve faced lots of challenges, like culture shock, the language barrier, issues with settling in and homesickness. But the most difficult part has been being separated from the outside world. I’ve worked for 2 years without a day off, a phone, or permission to speak to neighbours…it’s been very hard.

I heard about Uplifters on social media. I like to learn new things and so I was desperate to find about their Financial Course. What attracted me the most to Uplifters is that it’s an online course, which is very convenient for me.
I’m hoping to achieve my financial independence in a few years and so far, I’ve already achieved freedom from debt.

Aside from money management, I’ve learned to say ‘no’ in a nice way.

Right now I’m only supporting my youngest son and my mother: my monthly remittance is for my son’s school fees and allowance, along with my mother’s medication, food and bills. I don’t have much in the way of savings. Over the years, most of my money has gone to supporting my family and paying for my four kids to get their education. 

My youngest son graduated from college this month, so now I will move on to my next goals: saving enough money to build my own house and keep using my free time wisely. Thanks to Uplifters courses I discovered my ability to control myself and stay focused in order to reach my goals.

I did recommend this free online course to my kids and to my niece because I want them to learn how to manage their own finances, become financially independent and to secure their own future. My kids now understand the value of money and the importance of savings for the rainy days.

Now, I really enjoy being a team leader.

I meet different people; learn different characters, personalities, perspectives and different life experiences. I used to think that my experiences were worse than everyone else’s, but now I’ve learned to put things into perspective. It has taught me to stay positive no matter what. Not to mention that helping others is satisfying for the soul.”

Learn from our student how to get green fingers …

Our students have talent!

We told you a few weeks ago the story of three amazing domestic workers passionate about photography.

Today meet Bayti and discover her secret how to make any plant grow.

Bayti comes from Indonesia and has been working in Singapore for more than four years. She’s one of our wonderful Uplifters Gold Team Leaders : she has facilitated more than five sessions of “Dare to Dream”, our 3-weeks free online course!
Our team leaders are volunteers and dedicate their precious time-off to help fellow domestic workers build better futures for themselves.

On top of her long working hours and dedication volunteering at Uplifters, she is passionate about gardening and cooking. She combines her passions to grow herbs and things that she will use in her cooking. She learned to cook and garden by herself.
Her passion also helps her employer to save money!

The plants she grows are basil, mint, chilli and capsicum.

She wants to share some interesting tricks for those who are interested to do the same :

How to make a plant grow?

  1. Cut the stem and put in the water
  2. Wait until the root comes out
  3. Plant it in the soil (soil can be bought anywhere)
  4. Water the stem with rice water or water mixed with milk (that gives more nutrition to the plant)

Other general gardening tips :

  1. You have to take care of the plants with your heart. You can talk to them too because they can feel it.
  2. Water the plants twice every day with rice water and milk leftover
  3. If you notice anything unusual (like white sticky substance on the leaves), remove the sick leaves.
  4. Remove the seeds from the plant when you cook them (chilli, tomato, lady’s fingers, capsicum, ginger, turmeric, galangal, etc)
  5. Grow something that you can use for cooking, this is more fun!
  6. Use compost mixed with normal soil for the plants.

Her message for those who may feel discouraged if it is not working:
Don’t give up if your plants don’t grow that well. Just keep trying and be patient, you will soon see results!

“As I love to cook, I find recipes on the internet, YouTube, Facebook groups, Pinterest and Twitter. The Internet is the best way to learn anything! Even if you cook something for the first time and it turns out not to be what you expected, you can find the adjustment (maybe there was too much of one ingredient, not enough of another…). Try different ways. Also, learn about spices as this gives all the taste to a dish! Learn about timing too. Not too long, not too short to make sure you don’t kill the nutrition or the vitamins. Cook with love so it helps the food look and tastes delicious!”

Her motto is: “If I can do it myself, I don’t need to buy it!”

Bayti is thinking about making her own fertilizer so she will not need to buy it in a shop. Not only are her crops useful on a daily basis and give a special taste to her cooking, but they also beautify her employer’s garden.

Now she is even considering making her own spice cultures as she had in Indonesia. “I like challenges that can make me grow every day. I also like crochet, knitting and drawing but I’m too busy now and have to make a choice. But I know I can come back to those anytime.” Bayti loves DIY in general and would rather do anything herself rather than buy it! “Plus I know where it comes from!” she says. Each time she changes employers she adapts herself to the new one and tries to learn what would please them, incorporating her talents.
Furthermore, Bayti also shares her knowledge with the Domestic Workers community, which is a precious act of generosity.

Credit Photos : Bayti

Thank you for sharing your passion and your tips. This can surely inspire a lot of people!

What would you do if your domestic worker was diagnosed with cancer?

Article originally published in Sassy Mama Singapore on May 13th 2019.

With the recent tragic case of Baby Jane Allas, we wanted to share with you another reaction from an employer whose domestic worker was facing a similar situation. Read on for her recommendations to fellow employers of domestic workers.

Christelle and her family have been living in Hong Kong for 12 years. They have two young children, ages 8 and 4, who were both born in Hong Kong.

Christelle works full time and sometimes long hours. Her husband started his own company and is also working full time away from home, so they heavily depend on their domestic worker.

Both children have medical conditions which require careful attention from the caregiver. Hiring a domestic worker who is healthy, conscientious, dynamic, reliable and attentive to the children’s safety and needs was one of their major concerns.

The couple hired a 38-year-old Filipino domestic worker in 2017 called Janice. She’d been working for them for a year when she started to feel pain in her breast.

The news and the following months

Janice found out she had breast cancer after she went for a check-up at the Tung Wah hospital due to the persistent pain she was feeling. The public hospital reacted quite quickly, proposing a date for the surgery two months later. Her sister, who was also working in Hong Kong, attended all of her medical appointments with her.

Meanwhile, Janice still had one year to go until the end of her contract with Christelle’s family.

Janice was devastated when she got the news and naturally thought about her children back home. Christelle and her husband reassured her that they were going to support her during her treatment. Unfortunately their insurance covered “any” emergency — except for cancer. So they had to cover all the medical expenses themselves.

J’s sister had also a history of fibrome which disappeared with plants and massages. Her sister insisted that J saw that same doctor she received the plant treatment from once she started to feel the pain in her breast. Her sister seemed to have played a crucial role as she pushed her to see that doctor (about S$60 twice a week for three months). Those expenses were covered by the employers.

The operation and treatment

J spoke to her family about chemo treatment and the operation. Her family put a lot of pressure on her, saying that if she did chemo, she would lose her hair. She got scared and refused the operation on the day the operation was supposed to take place. She simply did not show up for the operation. The employer realised afterwards that she did not go to the hospital. They realised later what was happening and had to talk to her, abruptly telling her that realistically, she could not be cured with plants – she had to have the operation.

They had to force her to go back to the hospital to see the doctor in QMH, who was able to reschedule the operation for 15 days later.

The employer had regular discussions with her during this period and discovered the pressure that her family had placed on her. They felt overwhelmed by the urgency of the situation and the fact that her family did not really play a supporting role, and almost jeopardised her life. They learnt, in the meantime, that the cancer had spread to her throat.

Finally the operation day arrived and J stayed in the surgery unit for 7 hours.

After the operation, she underwent six months of chemo and radiation therapy.

During her treatment, she was unable to work one week out of four. J was speaking easily with her employers during that period. She realised she was receiving a good level of treatment in Hong Kong, and preferred to stay there rather than return home to the Philippines.

Later after the treatment, she went back home. When she returned from the Philippines, she was shaken to hear about a fellow domestic worker from the same village who’d had breast cancer but had refused treatment. She died a few weeks later.

The logistics surrounding her illness

Christelle and her husband knew that Janice would be unable to cope with her work while having the heavy treatment, so they had no choice but to hire another domestic worker. Their other domestic worker, M., started with the family a couple of weeks after J’s operation.

The relationship between the two domestic workers was not great. But the second helper knew that it was temporary. In fact, the family discussed with Janice and they agreed that once the contract was finished she would find another family, health permitting.

But the main concern was that they would work as well as possible together. They needed to manage their time together and the balance was quickly difficult to maintain considering the circumstances.

Janice’s contract reached an end last year and she found another family to work for. They are still in touch. Today, thanks to her employer and the high quality healthcare she received, she is fine.

What to take away from the experience?

When I asked Christelle what she had learned from this experience, she answered “The satisfaction that Janice is cured and that she continues to support her family, as was her choice to do”

Their advice for employers encountering the same situation:

“Communicate well with her. It is very important to keep reassuring her on the fact that she would stay until the end of her contract and that she will get good medical treatment. We had small children so we had to take someone else but we never had a doubt about keeping her until the end of the treatment.

Beware of medical practices that can be harmful for their health and discuss the treatment and her medical appointments with her if you can’t accompany her. Ask about her family back home – how they deal with the news and if they support her.”

Additional tips for helper healthcare in Singapore:

  • Make sure your insurance is up to scratch – the bare minimum will probably not be sufficient should your domestic worker require treatment in hospital. Many insurance plans are less about the health of your helper and more about helping the employer.
  • Think about what you are able to help with financially, should there be a negative outcome.
  • Discuss with your domestic worker the possible outcomes, and what would happen.

The message of a woman who started living life on her own terms.

Today, meet Jhoan, a 33-year-old single Filipino domestic worker in Hong Kong. Jhoan is one of our precious team leaders. She helps new students throughout their online courses at Uplifters. She presents herself as a very outgoing and optimistic person who loves to learn new things, read books and explore new horizons.

“I came to Hong Kong because I left a toxic relationship with my husband in the Philippines. I came here to make myself complete again as an independent woman. I have been working in Hong Kong as a domestic worker for two and a half years now. It is the first time I have worked abroad.
It’s hard to be overseas – you don’t know anyone and are a complete stranger in a country. The long working hours were really difficult to handle at first. I was exhausted and lost a lot of weight but even with all those barriers, I knew that it was good for me to be here because there are lots of opportunities for growing personally and professionally. 

The funny thing is, I discovered Uplifters when I was browsing the internet looking for a group which I could join to learn more and empower myself.
Thanks to Uplifters’ ‘Dare to Dream’ financial course, I’m now able to save 20% of my salary and start to build my house in the Philippines. I’m hoping to achieve what is on my “Dream board”: my main objective is to build my own house, have my own business and travel as much as I can so financial stability is a must. I have two siblings and my parents are still working so I don’t have to support anyone. I just send some money when needed.
Join this course! I believe every young woman should get financially educated and plan for her future.

The other good thing with this course is that I dared myself to develop new skills: I really love photography and I wanted to improve my photography skills by learning new techniques. So, I started searching on the internet for some photography classes and it became my new hobby.
I think that the Dare to Dream course changed my personality in a good way and also my relationships with others, for example with my employers: I was very shy with them at first but now I’m more open and we talk about my hobbies and my online course. They support me with what I’m doing right now and said they appreciate that I’m doing things I love during my days off.

Now I’m an Uplifters Team Leader – it’s super challenging for me because I have a lot of work to do and sometimes the students are not as active as expected. But, I keep on going and try to motivate them as much as I can and help them when they need it. I’m always happy to see the students’ success and certifications despite their busy schedules. They reach their goals and will be able to manage their lives and feel fulfilled themselves.

My message for everyone: never give up on your dreams. You too, you can be a strong and independent woman.