Heroes Without Capes: OFW Stories to Inspire You
Stories are an integral part of culture. It is one of the primary things that make us human—the stories we make and the stories we live. Without stories, life would not be as interesting and bearable. Each day, from the moment we wake up, we are about to take a step into a new story.
Stories of Overseas Filipino Workers are the most inspiring and emotional modern tales. It always tells a story of journey and hardship that turns into tales of success and triumph. These stories touch the heart and spark hope in all of us. These stories are not simply stories about diaspora and discrimination, but stories that give us meaning to continue and live our own stories.
If they can do it, so can you.
A daughter’s tribute to an OFW mother
Angeli Gabriel wrote an emotional piece in National Geographic about her Filipino mom, who worked as an OFW nurse. She recounted her mother’s story as a girl, from a rural province, who dreamed to design and do fashion but needed to study nursing with hope to liberate her family from poverty:
“Like many other Filipinos working overseas, my mother sent the majority of her pay back to her family. Her parents needed her support as they grew older and as my grandfather became unable to work as much. Some of her siblings fell into financial hard times. While working abroad separated my mom from her family for years, it allowed them to leave a life of poverty and gain a better, more stable life.”
Gabriel told a common Filipino story of a daughter and a mother, separated many times to build a better life in the United States. It was a story of how connection forms, even with distance and differences as a hindrance. The same thing that separated them strengthened their relationship. It proves that there is triumph in the struggles of Overseas Filipino Workers.
From a human trafficking victim to a businesswoman
Homeless in Manila, Myrna Padilla was a victim of human trafficking at an early age. And later on, she saw herself working as an OFW in Singapore, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. She worked as OFW for more than two decades. Fortunately, the son of her employer, Jonathan, taught her how to use the computer that led her to pursue more than what she was doing.
In 2006, Padilla went back to the Philippines and developed an app, the OFW Watch, with a purpose to help Overseas Filipino Workers. Now, she heads a Filipino technology consulting company, called Mynd Consulting, offering services from programming, digital marketing to web development.
A Filipino domestic worker and labor rights advocate, she aimed to unite Overseas Filipino Workers with volunteerism with the OFW Watch:
“All they have to do is download the application and register. Once a person becomes a member of OFW Watch, they will automatically be included in the database,” said Padilla.
With the app, Overseas Filipino Workers can help their fellow Filipino whenever a problem arises.