Feature

Remembering today’s heroes (Part I)

Remember them? Check out these Filipinos in the UAE who were among the few that stood up to help affected OFWs—even if they were struggling themselves

Feby Cachero Baguisa-Dela Peña

 

This Filipina in Dubai has been earning praises in her neighborhood in Deira after she initiated a food drive for Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), wherein she cooks all the meals.

She said she first got the idea to make free meals for OFWs when she first saw them lining up in Al Muraqabat Street two days before the Eid holiday. She said that since she has no regular job, she can make time to cook for three days and in turn, help these residents during the holidays.

She added that she got help from her family and housemates to make the project happen. Her husband provided the initial budget to cover the costs, while her brother-in-law—who lost his job due to the redundancy as a result of the economic impact of coronavirus disease (COVID-19)—helped with shopping the ingredients as well as distributing the meals. Her flat mates, on the other hand, helped prepare the food packs.

Andy Gregory Gomez

Gomez who was placed on a no-work-no-pay status has started his commitment to provide help for fellow Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) affected by the impacts of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), stating that he knows by heart what it means to be in their shoes.

Andy Gregory Gomez said that he was not able to receive his salary for a few months as his company was grappling to survive the effects of the pandemic. He said that this exact experience has inspired him to help other Filipinos, noting that he understands how difficult it is to be in this situation.

“Dahil naranasan ko din ang mawalan ng trabaho at mawalan ng sahod, kaya ramdam ko ang mga kapwa ko OFW dito sa Dubai. Lagi ko ding naaalala ang payo ng lola ko na kapag may sobra ka kailangan mo tumulong sa iba. Ngayon, kahit wala akong sinasahod, sinusubukan ko pa ding tumulong sa mga kababayan ko, kasi alam ko ang pakiramdam nila,” he said.

He said that he started his relief drive in late April straight from his own pocket, together with his friends Ghie Salgado and Rowena Nicolas. They have done various relief operations since the onset of the pandemic, helping tons of affected OFWs across the emirate.

Mona Mohamed Baraguir

Mona Mohamed Baraguir is earning praises in the community as she provides food and essential needs to Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) affected by coronavirus disease (COVID-19) by spending more than half of her monthly income.

She said that she began this initiative when the pandemic started, and when she learned just how many Filipinos were left redundant or under no-work-no-pay status as businesses grapple to survive the economic effects of the virus. The Filipina was naturalized as an Emirati after marrying a local two decades ago. She has since been receiving a monthly alimony payment of Dhs8,000—around Dhs5,000 of which she pledges to purchase essentials for the affected OFWs.

Ronalin L. Adolfo

This mother based in Dubai has been creating and giving out ear savers or face mask holders at various hospitals in Dubai, providing frontliners comfort from wearing face masks for 12 hours straight or more.

She said she found an opportunity to help health workers in an innovative way after talking to friends, who are some of the nurses on call for patients of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). They told her that wearing a face mask for a very long time hurts her ears.

“Sinasabi nila na masakit sa tenga ang pagsuot ng mask ng 12 hours, naisip ko na gawan ito ng paraan. Nag-research ko at doon ko nakita ang crocheted ear savers,” she said.

Ear savers, she said, are used to hold the mask garters instead of putting them on the ears. “It gives comfort to the wearer and helps prevent blisters and pain caused by prolonged usage of facemasks,” Adolfo added.

In mid-April, when the number of COVID-19 patients in the UAE started to rise, Alfonso said she and her 18-year-old daughter began—using her own money and funds—creating ear savers, giving them out to her health worker friends, then to several hospitals in Dubai.

She noted that her initiative has also reached financial literacy Facebook group Dirham Stretchers—with some of the members donating buttons and yarns, and others helping her crochet.

Staff Report

The Filipino Times is the chronicler of stories for, of and by Filipinos all over the world, reaching more than 236 countries in readership. Any interesting story to share? Email us at [email protected]

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