Marjorie is 34 years old, she comes from Davao in the Philippines, “city of the President Duterte” as she is proud to say. Single-mum of a 12 years old kid raised by her mother back home, she arrived in Hong Kong four years ago and has been working for a local family ever since. She discovered EmpowerU through a Facebook post six months ago and is now attending the batch 2 class at HKU on Saturdays.
“I found myself so happy here, I have so much freedom.”
Marjorie insists on the fact that she is a “very lucky” domestic worker in Hong Kong. She works for a nice couple here, who asks her to take care of the dog and clean the house. She knows that she has a very good position, and keeps repeating how good her employers are. On her free time, she likes to surf the Internet, watch TV, and she is a huge fan of Karaoke. Marjorie likes to discover new places in Hong Kong, she says that she “knows Hong Kong more than the Philippines”. As an outgoing and sporty person, she knows all the good hikes around, and meet friends weekly to practice badminton. She describes herself as an “easy person”, who enjoy being surrounded by good people here. Before Hong Kong, she spent a few years in Taiwan but had a hard time there. Now, she can affirm that Hong Kong is home.
When she’s asked if she joined EmpowerU with some people she knew, she answers clearly: “I came with myself”. Marjorie finished school at the age of 18, and has been working as a computer technician and a secretary before moving abroad. At EmpowerU, she enjoys the class of financial literacy. “Before, it was easy for me to go anywhere, spend money and buy something that doesn’t make any sense”. Living in the city of malls and consumption doesn’t allow many options on a free day when you don’t have a place to stay. For her, HKU is a way to spare money. Beyond the ties she made within a community, Marjorie gained knowledge in finance, health, law.
“EmpowerU teaches us on how to take care of ourselves and promote healthy living”.
To illustrate the benefits that she gained from her education, Marjorie shares her personal story. Last week, her sister shared a Facebook post saying that HIV could be transmitted through food. The HKU student corrected her and took the opportunity to give her family a short course on sexually transmitted diseases. According to her, “EmpowerU helps us domestic workers to upgrade our skills and learn during our off”.
“They want to upgrade us”.
Thanks to EmpowerU, she looks further: “I don’t know what is the next plan. After graduation, I want to move to Canada for good”. In Hong Kong, she has no chance to ever become a permanent resident. But in Canada, she can settle and consider a long-term future. In her dreams, she would love to go back to the Philippines. But she knows that it probably won’t happen before retirement...