Today we focus the spotlight on Melody Nadal, one of our Diamond Team Leaders. Our Diamond Team Leaders have facilitated 10 sessions of our signature ‘Dare to Dream’ course on money management and personal growth. Below she shares her empowerment journey as a migrant domestic worker.

Originally, Melody is from the Quezon province in the Philippines where she raised her two children. “I moved abroad because I want to earn more for my children’s future and buy my own house and have the capital for business. I’m supporting my daughter back home. She’s now a third-year college student studying Office Management. I worked in Hong Kong for twelve years already when I found out about Uplifters in 2020. I wish I had found Uplifters before coming to Hong Kong because no one taught me how to save my salary correctly.

My life before and after Uplifters changed a lot financially. I’m now debt-free. Most of all, I had reached out to more migrant workers and I became an instrument to change their lives financially. I feel a sense of accomplishment whenever I see my students fulfilling their dream boards. My dream board also came true. As an example, founding Horizons and publishing my book came true. On January 25th, 2022, I had the soft launch of my ebook. I am excited about our book signing once the social distancing restrictions are lifted. If I’m homesick, I pour my emotions through writing. That’s why I founded Horizons to help migrant workers develop their talents and have an outlet to express their feelings and take care of their mental health. I am happy to be actively involved in many different activities as they help me forget being homesick.

Without the knowledge I gained from Uplifters’ money management course, I thought saving was just leaving a penny in your pocket, but it’s more than that. I wish all migrant workers like me knew about an emergency fund’s importance. Managing my finances was one of the biggest challenges I have faced in life.

My job as a domestic worker is wonderful because I had good employers, but you need to earn it. Employers will not instantly like you. It does not work like magic. That’s why I’m taking courses to improve my skills. I studied Hotel and Restaurant Management while in my third year working here in Hong Kong. It taught me how to clean properly and cook different cuisines as the best way to your boss’s heart is through their stomachs. I learned how to make a bed properly, budget and serve healthy meals, remove stains, wash delicate clothes and polish expensive office shoes. Whenever there are special occasions, I prepare the decorations and food. I help kids with their school work.

Most importantly, I learned how to be proactive—being a domestic worker covers many responsibilities. You must perform your job professionally to help your employers fully and make them happy. In turn, you will be rewarded for your efforts. I’m proud of being a domestic worker. We have a work contract which means it’s a professional job, so I’m taking it seriously by heart. I love my work. Before the pandemic, I travelled the world for free as my employers needed my skills and abilities to make their lives abroad easier. I took first aid lessons for infants and kids during my nanny days. I also took swimming lessons so I could take them in the pool, making sure no one would drown.

I’m a member of different NGOs for the Filipino community during my day off. I’m not focusing only on my group Horizons. Many people need help and support, so I’m dividing my time. My motto is ‘Time management is your transportation that will take you to lots of destinations,’ to help me manage my time and energy. I’m helping distribute ‘Ayuda’ or assistance in the form of grocery bags and clothing to stranded migrant workers, manning our community pantry and assisting with free breast screening services. I’m attending many seminars and training to learn more and contribute to society. For example, people would ask me how to renew their contract, seek help if their employer terminates them, and find a doctor or dentist, among other things.

I aspire to see more financially skilled, debt-free and empowered women and someday, all of us can say, ‘I’m a proud domestic worker, but now I’m equipped to level up and change my career.’

My advice to those struggling is to dream grand; it’s free, but work hard. No matter what obstacles you face, never give up. Say your affirmation: I claim I’ll win this battle, goals achieved worthy at the end.”