Meet Lizz Natividad, Uplifters’ Diamond Team Leader. Our Diamond Team Leaders have facilitated ten sessions of our three-week online course called Dare to Dream on money management and personal growth. In total, they have already empowered more than 100 students each!

“I am from Quezon Province in the Philippines. I became orphaned when I was fifteen years old. I do not have any memory about my mother because she passed away when I was three. My father passed away twelve years after. I’m the youngest among ten siblings. I have six older sisters and three older brothers. When my third sister got married and moved to Tarlac City, I moved with her to study in high school. It was difficult for me to lose my parents at an early age. Being the youngest, I was very close to my father. Among his children, I am the only child who was outspoken and opinionated. My father had a huge influence on me. He taught me to believe in myself, be self-reliant, and to be fair and never look down on other people. He taught me to always think about my future and be responsible for myself. One of my fondest memories is when I was six years old was when I was run over by a toy car driven by a boy who lives in my neighbourhood. My father, who was standing on the terrace of our house witnessed everything. Seeing my father giving me that look that told me to fight back made me feel brave. I stood up for myself against the bully and I won. Through that experience, my father taught me to be strong and fend for myself. I was in shock and denial when he passed away but his lessons never left me and they have helped me through adulthood. Through him, I learned to be independent and strong. I always consider what he would think whenever I make decisions, especially when I was younger.

My first work experience abroad was in Singapore. I stayed there for one contract and applied to Hong Kong before my contract was due to expire. I came to Hong Kong in 1996 and worked for my employer for twenty years. I remember during my interview, my boss asked me if I knew how to cook and I said no because I only looked after a baby boy in my job in Singapore. Then they asked me if I know how to boil water and an egg and I said yes. When they asked me what kind of work I did not like, I said I don’t like cleaning shoes and washing cars and windows. They smiled at me and told me I was hired. During my time with them, they always encouraged me to save money and continue improving. They told me how amazed they were because I successfully learned how to cook and bake. They told me that their son, my Alaga, grew up to be responsible through my help. (‘Alaga’ is the term Filipina nannies use for the child they are taking care of.) I am still very close to him. I am proud of myself for taking such good care of my ‘Alaga’ and appreciate his love for me.

Whenever I feel homesick, my coping strategy is to visit different places in Hong Kong. I go hiking, attend church, and join various self-development classes. My favourite hiking trail in Hong Kong is Jacob’s Ladder in Quarry Bay. My mindset is to always look for something that I can learn from and will help me to improve. My dream is to be able to retire without worrying about money and enjoy my garden and travel once in a while.

My job as a domestic worker does not only provide a salary for me to buy things but it has also given me the ability to help my siblings when they need help. Uplifters gave me the push to be mindful of my time and priorities, keep track of it and use it wisely to my advantage. I’m a saver already but I did not have a plan about how much I want to save and what I am saving for. I only saved money for the sake of having savings. I found it difficult to say no whenever my family or my friends asked for monetary help. But when I joined Uplifters, I learned how to value and save money with a clear vision and purpose in mind. I am happy that I was able to buy a few properties through my savings.

The courses of Uplifters really work in my life. It motivated me to become a team leader because I wanted to help my fellow domestic workers. Sometimes they just want to talk to somebody they can relate to and who cares for them. I feel motivated whenever my students receive their certificates. I am not just their team leader, I am also their friend they can talk to about their hardships. I offer them advice and share with them the lessons I learned. They are my inspiration. Knowing how they sacrifice to provide for their family and their capacity to love so much, to the point of forgetting themselves so that their family will have a better future motivates me to keep doing my part to help them.

My advice to my fellow Uplifters sisters is to continue to find ways to uplift your life, plan well and know your priorities in life. There are a lot of different classes for self-improvement and financial literacy. Work hard and work smart. Always be a loving person.”