Today we focus the spotlight on Ronalie Mendua, one of our Diamond Team Leaders. Our Diamond Team Leaders have facilitated at least 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.

Born in Quezon Province but raised in Rizal Philippines, Ronalie Mendua is 32 years old and a mother of two, aged 13 and 7. 

“I moved to Hong Kong in 2018 to support myself and my family financially, to create a better future for all of us. As I didn’t have the financial means to pay for the paperwork in Hong Kong, I had to borrow money from a friend. It took me quite a long time to pay him back because of some undesirable circumstances I encountered. As a matter of fact, I was scammed by my employment agency. They charged me excessive fees that I was not aware of before. Fortunately, with the help of different organisations and friends, I fought for my rights and won.”

Ronalie found that it was difficult to work abroad for the first time as a domestic ‘helper’, although she is proud to support her family and help them financially. 

I have learned so many things in life that I had not thought of before. I became more productive, more efficient, more independent and more self-reliant. 

What I don’t like about my job is that I have to work long hours, and I often lack sleep or rest. We are also often discriminated against or bullied just because of our label as ‘domestic helper’. Others don’t really realise how useful our work is not only for our employers, but also for our home country and the country itself that we work with.

She found out about Uplifters in 2020 while scrolling through her Facebook feed.

I took a look, found it interesting and it was free. So I signed up for the “Dare to Dream course” right away. 

At that time I didn’t know anything about tracking my income. Most of the time I didn’t know where my salary was going. I used to get confused with my expenses. 

But not anymore! Starting the Dare to Dream course helps me a lot in many ways. It improves my well-being, my confidence and now I know how to track my spending and where my income is going, allowing me to save for myself and my family’s future.

As a shy and quiet person, often misunderstood by others, I was afraid to interact with people I don’t know, because I was afraid they might judge my appearance, the way I speak, etc. The Uplifters courses helped me overcome this and be more proud and confident to show others who I am. I developed my strength and abilities. 

Being a team leader is an honour for me. It teaches me to be more responsible and independent. I have been able to create my own small community groups, like Hong Kong and beyond, and provide relevant help and support for my fellow migrant domestic workers. What I like most of all is to be able to express my thoughts, to be heard, to be able to share my knowledge and life experiences with my fellow migrants, and I also learn a lot from them. The community leaders inspire me in many ways.

Ronalia shows resilience especially when faced with homesickness. 

When I feel homesick, depressed and broken, my coping strategy is to call my family whenever I can. I surround myself with good people, people I trust or friends who give me peer support to get through this. To keep me going, I have this saying: “It doesn’t matter how slow you go, as long as you don’t stop.”

During her days off, she likes spending time volunteering. She is involved in organisations which aim at educating, empowering, helping and supporting migrant domestic workers. She also loves exploring Hong Kong. “My heart goes with nature. I go hiking, trail running and beach cleaning. I am passionate about fitness activities. I joined a volleyball team which I really enjoyed. It helps me to relieve the stress of the hard work during the week. And it’s also a good time to bond with my teammates and friends.”

“We are not only domestic workers, we can do more for ourselves, for our families and for the communities. I look forward to seeing my fellow migrants empowered too. Don’t give up and don’t stop learning.”