“I want to expand my knowledge about the rights of domestic workers in the UK. Through Future Voices I want to explore how to improve my self-knowledge to become a confident and competent spokesperson.”
I’m Evangeline. I’m the second of four siblings. I live in San Isidro, Isabela, Philippines. I graduated from High School in 1987 and didn’t continue to college because my father suffered from cancer. My father was a farmer, so our life was tough because we didn't own the land. There were times we didn't have food and most of the time we ate sweet potatoes and sweetcorn which my father harvested from the farm. When I finished high school, I worked as a domestic worker in Manila, Philippines. With that salary, I helped my other siblings to finish their studies. In 1990, my father got sick and he was not allowed to work. He had medicine that needed maintenance to keep him alive but with my little salary, I couldn’t afford the medical expenses of my father.
At the young age of 18, I decided to work abroad, and I applied to an agency referred to me by a friend. I was offered a job in Dubai. In this employment, I experienced different forms of abuse including overworking, having no day off, and not enough food. But the worst thing happened to me here when my father passed away without seeing him because my employer refused to let me go home.
Because of hardship, I had to work abroad again, this time in Saudi Arabia, but this was a horrible experience. I was locked inside the house and inside the room, so I sought help from the agency and went home without finishing the contract. I applied for work again, this time in Qatar, this was the same abusive employer but something I endured because of the needs of my family especially since I was a single mum. This employer offered for me to go to London, I didn't know what life awaited me there. When we were in London, they were abusive to me, watching me all the time, my salary was not given, I had no day off and no rest. I was beaten by the children and my employer would hit me as well whenever I made mistakes or when she was frustrated. I escaped and I was supported by The Voice of Domestic Workers. I'm grateful for this organisation.