We’d all love to believe that everyone is so fortunate as to wake up to the comfort of home each day, or something that resembles it. Sadly, that’s not the case for Filipino migrants. Today, more than 10 million Filipinos leave their country, hoping to find work that will provide for the needs of their families. Earning as much as four hundred fifty euros per month, the jobs promised abroad are usually to be a domestic helper, mostly in places like the Middle East, with no guarantee they will return home within the next 5 years.
Blessy Javier, 42, is a single mother who left her two kids (Yvonne 14 and Brian 10) to work as a maid to an Arab family in 2017. There was no other option, since wages in the Philippines are very low and simply not enough. Not knowing when she’ll ever see her children again, she believes it’s all worth it if this means they get to go to school, enabling them to have a choice for their future — one she never had.
Growing up, I’ve heard cases not so different, through various encounters at church, or just overhearing conversations at the train station. Young Filipino women whose families can’t afford to educate them are encouraged to go abroad and find jobs similar to that of my aunt, so they can send remittances home monthly. This is a way of life almost ingrained within the culture.
Luckily, I was raised in a completely different life, one that provided me with a choice. There are multiple moments when I scare myself, wondering how such a life would feel — that such a life could easily have been me. But I realize that’s wrong thinking. I’ve come to live with it by staying away from the sense of guilt, because we should all make the most of what we have, especially when we do it for the people that don’t have.
Although this price seems to break hearts, it’s a reality we disregard. People often feel sorry for those who are in these circumstances. But to be able to provide for others, no matter the sacrifice, is an act of courage. It’s something to be proud of, and not pitied.