- Vilma Jaquias shared her life story with KAMI
- The 46-year-old grandmother lost her husband at a very young age
- She worked as an OFW to provide for her children, their spouses, and her grandchildren
Life threw a curve ball for Vilma Jaquias early on.
In 1999, she was 28 years old, married and with four young children. But her supposedly happy life was disrupted when a group of addicts in their neighborhood killed her husband.
At the prime of her life, she was already a widow, with four mouths to feed.
Her husbands killers were caught, but because she doesn't have enough money, she was not able to pursue a case. They were set free after eight months in prison.
To provide for her children, she decided to try her luck abroad. But without the guidance of a parent, three of her children got married at a young age.
"Sunod-sunod nagsipag-asawa 'yung tatlo kong anak. Pero sinusuportahan ko pa rin sila para sa mga apo kong tatlo. Obligasyon ko ito dahil maliit pa sila naulila na," said Vilma.
Her youngest is now an architectural student. He is living with Vilma's sibling.
Vilma works as a domestic helper and nanny for her employers' nine children.
According to Vilma, her female employer is very strict and would often shout at her.
"Hindi makakain ng gusto dahil ayaw nila ng nakakaamoy ng mga ginisa. Minsan pag wala sila nakakapagluto ako nang patago. I-aakyat ko sa room ko, dun ko kakainin," shared Vilma.
Sometimes, her employer would also accuse her of drinking cleaning solutions when she asks them for supplies.
"Pag nagsabi ka na walang ganito, tulad ng mga clorox, dish washing, at mantika, sasabihan ako bakit ang bilis maubos. 'Ano iniinom mo,' napakasakit pakinggan na sabihin iniinom ko 'yung clorox dahil mabilis daw maubos," shared Vilma.
She added: "Kahit anong pagtitipid naman ang gawin mauubos at mauubos din. Kaya minsan sa sobrang sama ng loob ko iiyak na lang ako."
Vilma said she's also not allowed to receive food or financial help from some of her friends in the residential building.
"Sa pagkain sobrang kuripot. Tapos pag nalaman niyang nagbigay 'yung katulong sa taas magagalit, sasabihan ako na huwag kong tatanggapin kahit ano ang ibigay," said Vilma.
She's been working for the same employer for seven years now. But for all those time, she was never given a day off. Her salary also remained the same for seven years.
There were times when she would only get 3 to 4 hours of sleep because she has to work until midnight.
Another incident she remembered was during December 2016, when she had a urinary tract infection and a fever.
She could not get up from bed from the pain, but her employer still told her to work.
"Aakyat siya sa room ko sasabihan ako higa lang daw ako nang higa lalo daw ako magkakasakit, bakit daw hindi ako dun sa baba para makatulong. Hindi ko naman talaga kaya magtrabaho," recalled Vilma.
But despite all that, Vilma stayed. She kept thinking of her children and her grandchildren back in the Philippines.
"Dami kong dinanas na hindi maganda dito sa bahay ng amo ko pero lahat ng iyan pinagtiisan ko dahil iniisip ko pag-aaral ni bunso dahil walang ibang susuporta sa kanya kundi ako lang," said Vilma.
She added: "May edad na ako, baka hindi na ako makakita pa ng work kung hihinto ako dito."
She was still young when her husband and partner was taken away from her.
"Ipinangako ko sa sarili ko, gagampanan ko lahat ng pagkukulang ng papa nila. Kaya heto ako ngayon, nakasurvive sa lahat ng pagsubok sa buhay. Ang mga anak at apo ko ang nagpapalakas sa akin ngayon," said Vilma.
Learn about the inspiring story of Cheneleng Pili, who was able to reach her dreams through hard work and determination.
Road to success: I cried a hundred times - makeup artist and business owner Cheneleng Pili - on KAMI YouTube Channel