The student who was accepted in a highly selective social fellowship

Marites, one of our students, is a 44 years old domestic worker from the Philippines. She has been working in Hong Kong for 13 years to support her 18 year old daughter and her father in the Philippines.  But she is way more than that.  Despite her long working hours, she learned by herself how to become a journalist and just got accepted in a highly selective social fellowship by the Resolve Foundation (do check their amazing impact). Discover what motivates her to always dare more and to give back to her community.

Marites Palma

After graduating from our money management and personal growth program, Marites has been one of Uplifters Team Leaders since February 2019. She likes hiking and describes herself as being self-reliant, hard working, and strong.

How I became a domestic worker

“I didn’t plan to become a migrant domestic worker, but when I had my daughter, my husband wasn’t supportive so I decided to work abroad as a domestic worker. I originally planned to work for two years only but I did not manage to save properly so I’m still here. I spent two years in Singapore, two years in Macau and I’ve been in Hong Kong for thirteen years looking after children. I love it.

My dream of becoming a journalist

I’ve now been writing for 6 years as a contributor writer for The Sun Hong Kong, a Filipino newspaper.

Originally I have a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture majoring in Crop Science. I learnt how to write here in Hong Kong. This is how it started : 6 years ago I was invited to attend a news writing workshop and I started to write an article based on their standards. I was then invited to join The Sun Writers’ Club. Since then my life became very busy attending and covering different events of the Filipino Community in Hong Kong. I love what I’m doing because I can open the eyes of my fellow domestic workers to certain issues concerning our work such as basic rights like the minimum wage, the living conditions, the job description, medical benefits, etc.

It’s always been my dream to become a journalist since I was a child; the fulfillment came when I became a member of The Sun Writers Club.

Last March 10th I received an award by Labor Attache Jalilo Dela Torre from the Philippines Overseas Labor Office, as an appreciation for my positive impact on the lives of my fellow migrant workers by protecting and educating them about their rights and by advocating their welfare in various ways (http://www.sunwebhk.com/2019/03/the-sun-editors-and-writers-receive.html).

Award ceremony at the Philippines Overseas Labor Office, 10th March 2019

I never expected this award, I am just happy to help my fellow migrants. My mentor Ms Daisy Mandap, the chief editor of the The Sun Hong Kong, has been influencing me in raising awareness towards our fellow Filipinos here in Hong Kong.

click on the above picture to see the article from Coconuts Hong Kong

My experience as an Uplifters student

I took both “Dare To Dream” and “Become A Leader” classes from Uplifters and found them really inspiring and educational. I had attended seminars in the past and for me online class is a really challenging activity. I told my boss about my activities during my day off, they knew about my situation as a single mother, and they are very supportive. They treat me like being part of their family.

With the Uplifters classes, I learnt how to save money for myself and how to say no to financial requests. Furthermore what is very interesting is that you can learn at your own pace, it is entirely up to you to learn. Nobody is forcing you.

I also realised I wanted to help my fellow domestic workers and learnt how I could positively help and impact them. I really want to encourage more people to push their limits as I pushed mine.

Incredible things happening as a result

During the Uplifters course “Dare To Dream” we are challenged to try something new, something we’ve never done before, to get out of our comfort zone. That’s how I found the courage to apply to the 2019 Resolve Fellowship. Luckily I have been chosen as one of 20 people this year. It’s a life changing opportunity and a new challenge for me. It is also a blessing as I can empower myself and have a bigger impact on the community not only for the Filipino community but to all sorts of people staying in Hong Kong and specially the 385,000 migrant domestic workers.

What’s next?

My plan for the future depends on my daughter. After she finishes her college education and obtains a good job, I will go home for good. Until then I will continue helping my fellow workers with the grace of our Almighty God.”

We wish Marites the very best in her writing, every success in the Resolve fellowship program and wish to congratulate her for all the amazing actions she has accomplished. She is an inspiration for all of us to always dare more.

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