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‘More than just helpers’: Pinay DHs in SG paddle away from homesickness

by | sports

On weekdays, these Filipino women in Singapore cook meals, clean the house, and look after their employers’ children.

But on Sundays, their only day off in the week, they come together not only to help each other battle loneliness from being miles away from their loved ones, but also to prove they are more than what people think they are.

This November, 40 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Singapore, including 19 domestic workers, will be competing in the 35th Singapore River Regatta, the oldest dragon boat race in the country.

Their team was formed by Race2Share, a non-profit sports and volunteer organization composed of a group of Filipino professionals based in Singapore, with the aim to “inspire and empower through sports”.

Video credit: Race2Share/Facebook

Video credit: Race2Share/Facebook

In a feature story by Singapore’s Channel News Asia, the Filipina maids shared how sports got them through moments of homesickness.

For Jannah Pascua, 43, leaving her family in the Philippines was the hardest decision she ever made.

“The day I left the Philippines was so sad. I left to give my family a better life and my kids better education. When I first came here, I would cry. I couldn’t sleep at night,” she said.

As for Mariz Marasigan, visiting her kids in the Philippines after leaving when they were just months old proved more difficult.

“You expect when you go back, they are going to hug you and kiss you. They think I’m a stranger,” Marasigan shared.

She added that being busy with a hobby led her not to think so much about her problems.

“When I’m doing nothing, I feel lonely. This is how I cope well with homesickness,” she added.

The two Filipinas took interest in running, with Pascua starting six years ago and Marasigan just this year.

Pascua has already participated in eight races, including four full marathons. She also runs to raise money for a special school foundation in Cavite.

She even races with her employer, Melissa Honaker, who is fully supportive of Pascua’s hobby.

“She has a good heart and a sense of responsibility. I like to run and that’s one of her hobbies,” Honaker said.

For Marasigan and Pascua, they feel sadness when they hear other people say they are “just maids”, incapable of doing and achieving other things.

“I feel bad if people say ‘they are just helpers’. They don’t know I do other things,” Marasigan said.

Race2Share’s co-founder, Jen Macapagal, hopes sports can continue to empower and promote self-worth in the Filipino expat community’s self-worth in Singapore.

Source: Channel News Asia
Photo credit: Jem Sanchez Photography via Race2Share/Facebook

http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/cnainsider/more-than-just-maids-they-re-athletes-who-bring-hope-to-others-9230164

Related: OFW mom turned CEO opens 1st Filipino-owned modeling agency in Dubai

http://filipinotimes.net/lifestyle/2017/09/19/ofw-mom-turned-ceo-opens-1st-filipino-owned-modeling-agency-dubai/

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