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Being a carer is the most rewarding profession one can enjoy. Making a difference in someone’s life is fulfilling and it means a lot to me as a carer. Forming a strong bond with your client, who fully trusts you, is an amazing experience to have.

But the job is challenging and it can be exhausting and overwhelming. But it is rewarding to do the little things that help my clients to live independently and enjoy the life they deserve in their own homes.

I am a member of MRCI’s My Fair Home: we created a strong network of migrant care workers to give a platform for all of us to come together and share our experiences.

Listening to all those stories about bad pay, long hours, lack of respect and poor treatment for carers, told me that something needed to change and I knew that we had to set something ourselves, something different from all the other private care agencies.

And that’s what we did. We set up The Great Care Co-op: our own care workers cooperative. Nine migrant women working in care came together; we had 18 months of training, committing ourselves in the evenings even though we were tired after our shift work.

We were so determined because we all knew what we wanted:  an end to poor working conditions, enough of exploitation and discrimination in the care industry, enough of low wages.

We wanted change and we knew we had to make that change happen ourselves. We wanted to build a strong company that really values workers, a place that treats people equally.

The Great Care Co-op was set up to create better jobs for disadvantaged migrant care workers.  A worker-owned co-op which values workers, and where each individual has a say in the work they do. We are not for profit, all our profits are reinvested in training our carers and in quality care provision.

During the pandemic, healthcare workers dedicated their time and risked their lives to work and care for others. The pandemic has shown us that care is an essential job, so carers need to be valued and respected.

I am so excited being one of the co-founders of The Great Care Co-op. I’m looking forward to growing our Co-op and to have many migrant women joining us. I want to thank MRCI, they supported me and saw something in me that I didn’t see myself. I became the person I am today because I was supported and empowered to fight for my rights. I became the person I am today because I believe in myself, I believe in change and in equal opportunities for everyone.

I started on this path by joining MRCI’s Domestic Workers Action Group, from that My Fair Home was born. I am proud to say that today I am a co-founder and director of Ireland’s first home care cooperative, which is set up and run by highly skilled migrant women.

I want to say this to all migrant women working and living in Ireland: it is the best place to be. Nothing will stop you from becoming who you want to be. Get up, be strong and fight for your rights.

By Anele