Photo credit: IOM/Elizabeth Wilkins
"I grew up on a banana plantation in the Philippines. I am the youngest of three in my family. In 2000 I finished a bachelor in computer science at university. That same year, I met my now husband. We met while he was on holiday in the Philippines. After he left, we started writing to each other for a year. He came back to the Philippines in 2001 and we got married. My husband then went back to Australia for a few months and I was left behind because it was really hard to get a visa at that time. My first visa application was denied, so we decided to move to Thailand to be together. That was the first time I was away from my family and it was very hard.
I didn’t speak the language in Thailand, but I found a job as a librarian in an American International School where I worked for about 10 years. In 2014, we decided to try again to move to Australia and this time I got my visa granted.
My first impression of Australia was that it was so quiet! In the Philippines and Thailand you see people walking and working in the streets at all times. So I decided to get involved in community support and volunteering to meet more people. I got a certificate in Community Services and then started doing hourly work in the multicultural centre. I also volunteer in a dementia and delirium program at the hospital once a week.
My mother turned 82 this year, she is living by herself in Philippines. I miss her and it’s really hard to be away from her. That inspired me to volunteer in the dementia and delirium program. Helping elderly people makes me think that my mum will be helped by others. I’m now planning to get a diploma in social work because my passion is helping people in my city and I want to be as prepared as possible."