Meet Anne Marie, Uplifters alumni and diamond team leader from Santiago, Isabela in the Philippines. She has been working in Hong Kong since 2013 and is a single mom to two lovely children. She left her home country to send her children to school so they can have a better future. Those who know Anne Marie or Mariah as she’s fondly called love her infectious laugh and energy. Her outlook in life is truly admirable. 

In her spare time, Mariah likes to explore the hiking trails of Hong Kong as she is amazed by the beautiful natural sceneries of the city. She loves reading personal development books and watching inspirational movies.

She joined Uplifters through her friend Lizz, who is also an Uplifters alumni and team leader.

“When Lizz told me about Uplifters, I immediately joined because I am a big believer in personal development and have always pursued learning. I believe one must be open to learning. You cannot say that you already know everything you need to learn. My advice is to be open-minded and leave everything you think you know behind so that you have an empty space to experience new things.”

“Uplifters has motivated me and empowered me to track my budget and write it down. Before, I would just send money back home and not monitor where it is spent. Through Uplifters, I have helped and influenced my mother to track expenses as well. I am happy to say that she is my partner in budgeting. I have shared what I learned from Uplifters with my family. Uplifters taught me to have better communication with my family. I learned to listen first before reacting and it helped me to have a better relationship with them.”

Mariah has facilitated more than ten sessions of Dare to Dream, the Uplifters’ 3-week signature online course on money management and personal growth. She is very passionate about helping our students. Being a migrant worker makes her more sensitive to their experiences and their sacrifices working abroad.

What Mariah loves most about being a team leader is whenever they tell me “Thank you for your time and for sharing your knowledge”, “I am now more open to my family”, and “You are an inspiration.” It makes me happy to be an inspiration to them. It’s not always easy but helping is now a part of my life and the desire to help them has been deeply rooted in me because I know how hard it is work abroad. I also feel empowered when I help them. I learned how to communicate and adapt to different types of people. I am really happy that I have this opportunity to contribute to the community. I feel grateful and privileged to help and build them up. I would say that being a team leader is like my muscle as it fuels me to become more energized in helping my students.”

She clearly has a gift for teaching. She worked in Dubai as a teacher’s assistant for six years where she was awarded as one of the school’s best employees of the year. She was the first Filipina to be given that award. One of her best memories as a teacher’s assistant is hearing her students call her Miss Mary and her travel incentive to Europe.

“My dream is to own a preschool. I love children and I want to help shape them to be good individuals. I would like to use my leadership training and my experience to accomplish this. My children are my partners in life. I believe that when you share your dreams with them, you will be held accountable. I share with them not just my dreams but also my knowledge as well so I can guide them and help them. My youngest son dreams of becoming a fashion designer while my eldest is taking up Financial Analysis in college. We often say that we are a dream team. My children are my inspiration.”

“My advice to fellow domestic workers is to hold your ground and believe you can do it. Take action on what you say you want to achieve. Move forward and reap what you sow. Write down your goals and plans, prioritize and know yourself. Know what you want to get in life because you will not accomplish anything if you don’t know what you want. Take action. My favourite quote is “If you have the courage to start, you have the courage to succeed.”