I am 36 and come from the Philippines. I am supporting my three kids and my Mom, who has health issues, by working here in the UK, caring for an elderly gentleman. As well as my children and Mom, I have my partner and my siblings at home in the Philippines, and I haven’t seen them for two years.
The only friends I have here in the UK are members of the charity The Voice of Domestic Workers. It’s hard to be alone and far from my family but that’s the sacrifice I need to make. They need my earnings to pay for their schooling and healthcare.
Something that marks a boundary in my life
I want to stamp “working permit visa” in my passport because if I had that, I would be able to visit my family in the Philippines and come back to work. That would make me feel so happy.
This question also makes me think of a pair of shoes because this is a personal boundary for me. You should never judge anyone because if you have not walked in their shoes you don’t know what they have been through.
Three things on my shelf
On my shelf I have my electric fan. My bunk bed doubles as a clothes rail and you can see my own clothes and work uniform hanging on a hanger.
This room is where I live in my employer’s house. I haven’t slept a single night in another place since the pandemic started (his family are worried about me catching Covid and passing it to my employer).
Three objects I would rescue in a fire
Of course my employer, my documents (including my passport), and some of my things (mobile phone and wallet).
Three random comments I have overheard
1. Be strong.
2. Keep going.
3. You’re amazing woman.
Three things in my
Phone, Headphones, Surgical mask
The routine I can’t do without
Before I sleep or wake up in the morning I use my phone to Facetime my children.
Things people say
My friends invite me to go to their houses, especially at Christmas. They wanted me to celebrate with them because I don’t have family here to celebrate with but I couldn’t.
Lockdown has affected me a great deal. I am so bored, lonely and unhappy. I feel like I am in a cage, the same way I felt in my previous job. It’s like I am in prison.
The changes I would make if I was running the country
If I had the power, I would change the policy for the Migrant Domestic Workers. I don’t want rich people to abuse the poor workers. I want to reinstate the Pre-2012 Rights of Domestic Workers.
Three things I can see out of my window
The park and London buses. Even though I want to travel to visit my friends and attend our weekly classes for the Voice of Domestic Workers, I can’t because since March 2020 I have been in lockdown and am not supposed to leave the house. I can see the park but can’t go there.
Something I am waiting For
I am waiting for domestic workers from overseas like me to be granted leave-to-remain visas. Migrant Domestic Workers are aiming, praying, and hoping for this. We want to legalise our status, we want the Government to recognise us as workers.
We are doing necessary work in the UK – caring for the elderly and for the sick – but we don’t have any employment rights. We don’t get sick pay and can be sacked without notice. If a worker gets sick or loses their job they can find themselves homeless without even the money to get home.