During my recent trip to Israel, I met some smart Filipina women who completed their college degrees but they’re not practicing their professions. Instead, they are working as caregivers for the elderly:
- Meet Evangeline (far left) who earned her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education; she also had extensive experience working in a small business.
- Meet JI (second from left) who worked for six years as part of a religious ministry at the Baguio City Cathedral. She also completed a bachelor’s degree in religious education.
- Meet Maricel (third from left) who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Accounting and Finance.
- Meet Daisybeth (second from right) who also earned a bachelor’s degree in Communications and Marketing.
- Meet Minnie (far right) who completed a bachelor’s degree in Education and taught elementary school for a few years in Pangasinan Province in Northern Luzon, Philippines.
All these women are professionals. They all spoke Hebrew in addition to their excellent command of English. So what are these women doing in Israel working as caregivers when they could have practiced their professions in the Philippines, earning more money for their families and helping bolster the Philippine economy?
“There are no jobs available in the Philippines!” they all replied in unison.
After graduation, Maricel tried to look for a job in the Philippines for over a year but with no success. She would even settle for an unpaid internship in a local bank just as long as she could practice her finance and accounting degree but to no avail. Maricel even told me that she has some friends who are practicing dentists and medical doctors in the Philippines but are working as caregivers in Israel. I was shocked!
This tragic story of underemployment is not unique. I’m sure if I ask every Filipino caregiver in Israel they all have a sad story to tell on how they worked so hard completing their higher education but in the end they have to resort to lowly paid positions in foreign countries just to feed their families back home.
I felt sad. Sayang! (what a waste). They should have practiced their professions in the Philippines, exploring many job opportunities there that will help their families and their local communities and eventually bolster the Philippine economy. However, many of them feel so desperate that they have to work as caregivers in Israel. In the end, destination countries like Israel and the US are the ones reaping the benefits of the higher education and the experience these Filipino workers bring to the job.