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One of 10 siblings, I was born and raised in Bulacan, Philippines, surrounded by rice fields, which are the main source of income for Filipino people.

From an early age I had to accompany my mother selling vegetables from house to house, planting rice after school, minding the kids, cooking delicacies, working very hard to earn money.  I was not lucky like other kids because I had to work; I did not enjoy my life as a kid.

I worked in Manila to support myself through college, but because the income I got was not enough to reach my dream of giving my family a good standard of living, I decided to leave my country and look for work overseas.

It was a tough decision to leave my family in the Philippines, but I was hopeful and determined to help my family have a comfortable life.

Life in Ireland

I arrived in Ireland in April 2009, where I got a very difficult job, getting only €360 a month, with only one day off a week. I had no benefits and they treated me and other workers like slaves.

Two months later, my employer forced us to sign a one month termination notice and threatened to fly us back to the Philippines.  When I learned about this, I was terribly worried thinking of how could I continue to support my family if I went home with empty pockets?

In this extremely difficult situation, my colleague and I decided to leave our employer though we had no idea of where to go and stay. We were clueless about the laws in Ireland.

Fortunately, a friend was able to reach MRCI, where I got to talk to Edel McGinley about our critical condition with my employer. It was 11 o’clock at night when MRCI rescued us together with the Garda.

MRCI continued to help us provide for all our needs. Another big ordeal crossed my path when I was hospitalised and had an operation. I was scared.  I had no work, no money. I will never forget the help extended to me and my companion by MRCI.  They provided us with a place where we could temporarily stay and be fed. I am happy with great hope in my heart that I will fulfil my dreams of having a stable job and help my family.

Starting the QQI Couse to become a Healthcare Assistant

Presently I am working as a Laundry Assistant in a nursing home and I’m taking the QQI Course provided by MRCI.  It is a big opportunity and will open new doors to me, as I will be able to work in nursing homes, in hospitals as healthcare assistant, and in home care. After I finish my course I will be able to directly administer care to the residents which gives me great job satisfaction.

Juggling work, study and family

One of the biggest challenges is the work-life-study balance. Having finished a long and busy day at work and arriving home, things needed to be tidied up and meals needed to be done. So there’s little energy left to do my online modules and homework. But I have overcome this challenge and am giving myself time to study the modules every day. Even if I don’t have much time, I’m happy if I can accomplish something. As the saying goes, “little by little does the trick.” I have to sacrifice my leisure time but I think that these small things will reap bigger rewards in the future.

I am very thankful to all staff of MRCI, especially Aoife Smith and Linda Keitasha who are always there to support me, and constantly get in touch to offer help. To our very supportive and very good QQI teachers (Ms. Margaret and Ms. Allison) and my fellow QQI students.

I am excited and looking forward to all the rewarding work opportunities that await for me as a qualified carer, such as being part of Ireland’s first Care Co-op.

I am very thankful, MRCI, and keep up this project.

By. Myra Galido

*MRCI’s QQI Course in Healthcare is funded by the European Fund Gender Equality Fund, under its Women’s Entrepreneurship funding Stream 2020-202. Applications are open until the 25th of January.