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Dec 16 18, 4:29 pm

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‘Sya naman ang aalagaan ko’ – ‘UAE’s Best Nanny Award’ recipient says of her daughter

by | Feature

Dec. 16, 18 | 4:29 pm

Photo: Rosie Villa with rise co-founder Padmini Gupta

DUBAI: Rosie Villa, this year’s recipient of the “UAE Best Nanny Award,” which comes with Php1 million in retirement fund, has this to say when asked about her plans: “Ang anak ko naman ang aalagaan ko ngayon.” (This time, it’s my daughter I’d be taking care of.)

A single mother, Villa, left her daughter, Karen Rose, to the care of her younger sister back in Barotac Nuevo, Iloilo in the Central Philippines when the baby was barely a year old around 2001. Villa had to leave because “wala kasi akong panggastos.” (I had no money.)

“Kapapanganak ko pa lang sa kanya nang umalis ako. Wala kasi akong panggastos,” Villa said. (I have just given birth to her when I left. I had to because I was broke.)

Villa’s boyfriend was having an affair, she found out. “Nabuntis ako tapos nalaman kong may kinakasama syang iba. Sabi ko sa sarili ko, ‘Hindi ako sasama sa taong iresponsable,” Villa said. (He got me pregnant then I learned he was with another woman. I told myself, ‘I will not go with someone so irresponsible.’)

“Ipinangako ko sa sarili ko na bubuhayin ko ang anak ko ng mag-isa,” she added. (I vowed to raise my daughter by myself.)

Painful reunion

Mother and daughter met after nine years and it was anything but a happy reunion. “Ang sakit, kasi hindi nya ako makilala. By phone lang kami nakakapag-usap kasi wala pa namang video call nuon. Lumaki sya nang wala ako,” said Villa. (It was painful because she couldn’t recognize me. Our communication was mostly by done only by phone as there still was no video call at the time. She grew up without me.)

Villa said she tried to get a job back home but ended up leaving again for employment abroad, this time in Hong Kong where she worked for three years also as a nanny. She went home again and finally landed a job in Dubai, still as a nanny, to a family where she has been staying with for the past five years.

Rosie and the rise team

Travails

Being away from her daughter would turn out to be just part of Villa’s travails.

While working abroad, she managed to shoulder expenses for her niece’s four-year chemotherapy treatment, done after having been diagnosed with leukemia when she was turning three and who, fortunately, is now on maintenance medication, having survived the worst.

Villa’s father, she said, is bed-ridden; and so is her mother. “Matatanda na sila. Hindi na makalakad si nanay,” Villa said. (They are ageing. My mother can not walk anymore.)

Life-changing

Winning the award is proving to be a life-changing moment for Villa.

“Sobrang saya ko kasi hindi ko na aalahanin yung pang-tuition ng anak ko,” said Villa, adding that Karen Rose has just finished K12 and will be pursuing a degree in accountancy. (I am so overjoyed because now I don’t have to worry about my daughter’s college tuition.)

“Ang plano ko ay uuwi na ako next year, bili ng bahay. Gusto kong makasulit sa aking pagiging malayo sa anak ko. Di ko sya naalagaan nuon.

“Seventeen years akong nag-aalaga ng anak ng iba na tinuring ko rin namang mga anak ko. Sya naman ang aalagaan ko ngayon,” said Villa, who finished a two-year vocational computer secretarial course.

Rosie and daughter Karen Rose

(I plan to go home next year, buy a house. I want to make up for my absence from my daughter. I wasn’t able to take care of her back then. Seventeen years, I was nannying other children whom I treated like mine. This time, I’ll take care of my daughter.)

Awards

The awards are an annual event organized by rise, founded in 2016 by Padmini Gupta, a former banker now working to improve the lives of service workers in the Middle East; and Milind Singh, Oxford-educated co-founder with nearly 20 years of experience in strategy, investment and business development experience.

Generating possibilities to positively impact the lives of the migrant population in the UAE, rise gives educational and digital banking opportunities to the unbanked residents in the UAE. rise was selected as Forbes Middle East’s “50 Start Ups To Watch” in 2017.

The awards received more than 2,000 online nominations from families and friends all across the UAE. A panel of four experts assessed nannies on critical childcare skills in the areas of child learning and development, building a nurturing environment, safety, health and nutrition, impact to the family, and role-modeling, scaling all the potential winners down to the top finalists, and then again to the final winners.

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THE FILIPINO TIMES is the biggest and most trusted Filipino newspaper in the UAE.

It has a print run of 60,000 copies and 250,000 readership per week; bolstered by 1 million visitors to its website every month. It also has an e-newsletter sent to its 250,000 subscribers every day.

The Filipino Times is FREE and has the widest targeted circulation across the 7 emirates of the UAE.

With more than 2,500 strategic distribution spots, TFT is available where the Filipinos are - at Smart Bus Shelters, Metro Stations, restaurants, supermarkets, schools, airport lounges, Emirates and Etihad Philippine-bound flights, churches, Filipino community events and many more.

THE FILIPINO TIMES. We are where the Filipinos are.

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