Lourdes talking: On Philippines and Filipino mothers in Hong Kong
We are all shocked here in Hong Kong. The terrible typhoon Hayan that devastated the south of Philippines last weekend is making everybody feel gloomy. Everybody wants to help, from churches to schools, consulates and private individuals are collecting money to send to philippines. In Hong Kong we feel it very close to us because many of us have a filipino lady living in our houses.
In Hong Kong, having domestic help is the norm for families with children. The large majority of helpers are Filipino women, most of them with young children.
These women come to Hong Long to make a living and most of them have children, husband, parents and siblings depending economically on them. They are extremely hard working women who left their young children behind in the hope of creating a better future for them.
I know several ladies who got pregnant in the one-week holiday they get per year. They come back to Hong Kong, work until they are eight months pregnant, go back to Philippines to give birth and are back into Hong Kong within one week of giving birth, leaving their newly born children under the care of a husband, grandmother or auntie. They do not have the chance to breasfeed their children, created any kind of bond with the baby or see them growing. They cannot ‘take it easy for some weeks’ to recover from delivery, neither can they cuddle them when the babies are sleeping. Next time they see their children, they will be one year old and they will only see them for one week before coming back to work. Aside of death and serious illness, I cannot think of anything that you may need to go through as a mother harder than this.
You may have read that we are organising a charity sale for the benefit of Mothers Choice for next week for which we made 200 penguin bags available. Given the events, we will have a double session, one for Mother’s Choice and another one to raise funds for the Food Bank for the Victims of the Typhoon. Please stay tuned and I will let you know how it all went.