Uplift your Night Episode #2

Here is the transcript of Uplift your Night Episode #2 with Lizz Natividad on July 9th, 2020 to help provide advice and inspiration to our community.

Hello, everyone, nice to see you all tonight. I am Jenely, Community Building Officer for Uplifters. Thank you so much for joining me tonight.

Uplifters is a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering underprivileged communities with online education and peer support. We offer a free online money management and personal growth course for domestic workers. You just need to click “ Send Message” on our Facebook page to enrol. This is the second episode of our Uplift Your Night series, and we are delighted to be here with you tonight. 

Our first objective with this Uplift Your Night Facebook Live is to be there with you. Uplifters is first and foremost a community. Secondly, we want to keep learning together and support each other.

We are pleased to have Lizz Natividad as our special guest tonight. Lizz is one of Uplifters’ Diamond Team Leaders. She has facilitated more than ten sessions of our 3-week online course Dare to Dream on money management and personal growth. She is also one of our Social Media Correspondents in our Uplift your Life Facebook group. 

Hi Lizz, welcome to our live broadcast. Thank you so much for joining us tonight. 

Hi everyone. My name is Lizz and I’m from the Philippines.  I’ve been working overseas for 22 years. I’ve worked in Singapore, my first experience overseas, I went to work there for three years. And then after Singapore, I have been here since 1996 before the hangover. I stayed with the same employer for 20 years. In my current employer I have been employed for two and a half years. One thing I can say is, even though I stay longer in Hong Kong, I don’t have a family back home to support. I mean, I support but then not like the rest of my friends do like every month they have to do this, they have to struggle to send their kids to school, or whatever. But then because I was a big spender I was thinking, well, I’m alone, no one’s gonna use my money. So I’m gonna enjoy this one. So, when I joined Uplifters in 2018 it really enhanced what I read or what I already know. I’m very happy to be with Uplifters. 

What do you like doing in your free time? 

Lizz: During my free time I always find some places where I can join classes and learn something.. I joined a sewing class, a Cantonese class. I go hiking. I attend a church in Chai Wan. I’ve been with them for over 10 years. That is where I can feel that I have a family away from home. 

What is your inspiration? Who do you look up to? 

Lizz: You know, we women have a mother’s intuition. We always like to care. I think it’s natural for us to care for somebody. And then at this time I’m also a Christian I’m a practicing Christian. So I always held my belief you know, always do some love. Do you know when you do something is like, you’re doing it not because you want something, or you’re doing it because you want to serve something. Yeah, that. Yeah. And that is what I’m always doing with my friends, and also my youngest in my family. So I always want something to

to be around people. In the family,  I have six big sisters and three big brothers, I’m the youngest one. So I always want to be around people. Having 10 kids in your house you know, cousins and nieces and everything there because I have nieces that has like a two years gap from me.  Because of that I always want to play being a big sister as well. 

I really admire your passion to help, empower and support our community.

When I joined the community, especially the Uplifters community, I didn’t really know what my purpose was. I just started because I was always curious about studying and I wanted to learn something. And then I realized these things that we’re learning in uplifters can really lift up somebody else, you know, if I’m here and I already know it, I really want to reach out and tell them about the good things that we can get here and because I can really feel it, I can see that it’s really working. Before you can really uplift someone, you must go in there doing the work and do it by yourself. And then I realized that this thing really works for me. I can say that I didn’t know about other people but I have a lot of friends, I talk to them. One thing that is so difficult is really to save money. To say no is the number one thing because our Filipino value is we always think about our family. We cannot say no to our family.  Because if we say no, we think that we are being bad people or just because you’re working abroad you have money. We have a big family like, aside from your kids, you have nieces, your brothers and sisters right. Before you know it, your family is so huge. When we are in the Philippines, we don’t really know about these things. But when we are working abroad, we learn a lot from other people’s cultures. And you can see when we send gifts, we really give gifts. For them one chocolate or one t-shirt and that’s enough.  It’s also a stressful thing, like when we go back for a holiday. I realized that a lot of people have that kind of problem. And so I started talking, I say I started three years ago. I want to tell you this a little bit. Eight years ago, I did an experiment. I went back home to the Philippines with a thousand pesos.

I wanna feel if I don’t give anything, let’s see what will happen. I didn’t tell anybody. It was painful but at the same time my eyes opened.. My nephew and my nieces, they all gathered and all of us went to the cinema, they paid for it. I said I don’t have any money. I’m not gonna spend on anything. The only money I had was my plane ticket coming back to Hong Kong. But then I realised that sometimes it’s only in our mind. When I realized that I feel like a big person. I started to open up really. And no one can put me down already because I know my value. My value is not a dollar sign on my forehead, my family loves me. Also, to most of you, your family really loves you. We just think if you don’t give to your family they do not value you. It’s not true. You are loved. 

I feel so privileged to know women from our community. They are my inspiration. I talk to a lot of them. They left their kids when they’re very young and they can sometimes become emotional when I hear their story. I don’t have my own kids but I can really relate to their sacrifices especially if they are single parents. It was really inspiring. And so don’t think that you are just an ATM machine. I always hear that “oh my kids or my family just think that I’m their ATM machine.” Your family loves you more than you can give.  You have to open your mind and heart and you have to accept it. You are not their ATM machine. 

I have had the privilege to have a group before and they always say that sometimes it’s very hard to connect with their kids, especially when their kids are very young. And the only thing that they can communicate with them is when they give something, like a prize for example, “I will talk to you tomorrow. If you don’t answer you will not get your mobile phone, something like that. And I said, you don’t bribe your kids to talk to you. So I think it’s the communication part. But things are better now because we have all this media, we have Facebook, it’s free. We have everything we need to communicate and I think everyday communication is important. I don’t have kids but I communicate with my family every day. 

Can you share with us some inspiring stories that you know about migrant domestic workers?

Lizz: She worked with my employer’s mother. She has been here for 12 years. She’s a single mom. She had three kids and she sent them to school all by herself. One is a lawyer, one is a mechanical engineer and one is a CPA. But suddenly one morning Ate Elma cannot get up. I have no idea what her sickness is. But she went back to the Philippines. She’s in the Philippines right now. But because the way she takes care of her kids and those times the communication is so expensive because we don’t have Facebook before but then she managed to talk to them every week until the kids knew how they love her. I also have one student that worked in Singapore before but then she suffered. She has an operation and she’s not allowed to go back to Singapore. She applied to Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia is easier to apply in. In Singapore every six months you have to do a medical examination. You’re not allowed to get pregnant, you’re not allowed to get sued. You’re not allowed to get an operation there. And, you know why they are doing it? I mean, we know what people in Saudi Arabia are going through, right? It’s very hard. We always think that it’s very hard to work there. But some people say they have a good life there and they have a good boss.. But of course, the majority of what we know is what we learned in the news because it’s bad news. So that is what we thought. There’s a lot of women that I talked to that said they’re doing great. They’re superwomen. I get my inspiration from them.

What do you love most about being a team leader? 

Lizz: In uplifting others, I uplift myself. Because the way I uplift them is I uplift myself, you know? I was saying earlier that when I started, I have no idea what Uplifters is. I was just curious and then suddenly when I realized that it really works, I practiced it. I thought that Marie, the CEO, said if she can uplift one life she’s happy. She’s not even Filipino. She’s not even Indonesian and she’s thinking about that. Then I can uplift them more because I can relate to these people. We have the same heartaches, we have the same problem. We have the same issues in life.  And so I thought, if I can uplift one life, one woman each month. We uplift others when we uplift ourselves. Can I tell you my story about how I give? I will call home because I miss them or I’m feeling homesick and when they say life is so hard here, I just give because I feel they are asking already. That is how I feel. After our conversation I will just send the money. They don’t really ask me but they always say “life is so hard, we don’t have this, it is so difficult.” And that is how I hear it, that they are already asking.  When I started saving I already talked to some of my sisters because my older sister died three years ago. Because she needs to go on dialysis and that will cost money. I told my other sisters that because I feel that it’s my responsibility. I always felt like that because we’re working abroad and we earn more than them, right? And so occasionally that is why we always fail, so I talked to my sisters and I told them that I need to save money and start saving for myself. This is what I want to do. If I don’t send, will you think that I’m a bad person? You know they all cried because they said oh, you already gave us so much, you must take care of yourself. I’m so grateful to my sisters. They are so full of love and you know what I find out that they’re really worried about me. They said you are alone there, if you are sick and alone no one will look after you. If you’re hungry no one is cooking for you. I feel so blessed. My family never says I love you. But after that we started telling each other we love each other. That’s why communication is very important. When you really talk to them, you know how they feel and you also have to tell them how you feel if you’re unhappy if you’re angry. There is no need to assume. Life becomes so meaningful with good communication. 

Can you share with us the book that made a positive impact on you?

Lizz: One of my favorite books is The Carrot Seed. It has no words, just a few pictures. It’s a childrens’ book actually. I read it in the library in Causeway Bay. It’s about one seed the boy planted and his own family said it might not grow. The little boy kept putting water in the soil and his family kept saying it will never grow. The boy never lost hope. One day, when suddenly there’s a sprout, there’s a green sprout on the seed and everybody is so happy. It’s been with me for 10 years since I read that book. It becomes my favorite because sometimes your family is your critic. You know that book really reflects that. If I wanted to read something inspirational I have this book called The blessing of the Lord by Kenneth Copeland. As a Filipino, we always hear that money is the root of all evil, right? And it’s like, if you are rich, if you have money, you change your attitude like for me, like for us, we are working abroad for money. And when we say no, that’s a big thing. So when we’re saying no, you’re a bad person. The first thing is, they don’t tell you that you’re a bad person. It depends on how we think. So we need to form what we think once we are open. And we know the word we value. We read the Bible, from where you get your inspiration, you will see your value. Once you know your value, nothing can put you down. No one can put you down and nothing can change you, you know, I mean, you get hurt, you get sick, you get lonely, it’s normal but you will always spring up. You can always bounce back. Don’t lose that value. You have to find it. You have to find your value as a woman, as a mother, as a sister, as a friend.

What is your advice to migrant domestic workers? 

Keep learning. If you learn you must take action because knowing alone will not bring you to your goals. The best thing you can do is when you learn something you have to do it to bring you closer to your goals. 

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