MomDay - Neda Reyes Lontoc
Monday is MomDay at PathFinders!
Every Monday we celebrate #WorkingMomsHK. Today we are celebrating one of our Ambassadors, Neda - who is from the Philippines and has worked in Hong Kong for the past 10 years.
In 2013, Neda was pregnant and gave birth to her daughter while working in Hong Kong. She experienced many challenges during her pregnancy; documentation and money problems, pregnancy and baby health issues, and became unemployed due to her pregnancy. During this time, she received support from church friends and a former employer who kindly supported with medical check-ups for her sick daughter. After many months, she was finally able to settle everything and take her daughter back to the Philippines.
“I never lost hope but I was living in fear most of the time. It was terrible and horrible. I didn’t know my rights or any community resources. I hope no Migrant Domestic Worker (MDW) has to experience that kind of situation without any support.”
“Engaging MDWs during resource card distribution is always interesting because you always meet different people. Some are willing to learn and want to share the information with others.”
While many comment positively about her sharing PathFinders work and information about maternity rights, some fellow MDWs comment that this will encourage pregnancy and infidelity. Despite negative comments, Neda feels sharing about her uneasy past and pregnancy story will bring more awareness, prevent crisis, and promote a safe and legal path which will help migrant mothers and their children.
“Everyone chooses their paths; their options and experiences can make them or break them. Accurate information, awareness and support helps. Prejudice never helps. Focusing on others’ unsupportive words doesn’t help. For me - learning from my experience, loving my daughter, continuing to grow to be a better person, and empowering others are the paths I’m choosing. Being a PathFinders Ambassador motivates me to continue to walk on these paths.”
Together with other Ambassadors, Neda has already started planning for an online workshop in 2021. She is keen to use creative expressions, such as poems, in telling her story and empowering other MDWs.