When Connie talks about her daughter, her concerns are the same as mothers the world over; how is she doing at school? has she got her pocket money, and is she able to pay her bus fare?
But there comes a moment in the conversation when the Filipino chef – who now lives in Cardiff, Wales – bites her lip, crinkles her eyes, and seems to visibly hold back tears.
She is remembering a recent call with her daughter – who lives 6,000 miles away in the Philippines. The 12-year old was assuring her mum that she didn’t need any extra money, beyond her school fees and basic living costs.
“Oh no mama… you don’t need to send more. I know it has been hard for you to work abroad and being away from us,” Connie recalls her saying.
These expressions of mutual care have helped to sustain the pair through the past two-and-a-half years, living on opposite sides of the world.
The way Connie and her daughter live is not unusual. In a survey of migrant customers, Remitly found that 40% of women who responded said that they had left a child behind to work abroad in order to build a better life for their family.
Nearly half (47%) hadn’t seen their child for more than a year, while a third (28%) hadn’t seen them for three years.
Kristianne, who is also from the Philippines, left her 12-year-old son with her husband while she moved to the UK to take up a role in nursing.
It’s how you count your blessingsKristianne
“Everything is for him,” she says proudly. “It makes me feel better as a person that I can do something more, and probably make my family life better.”
Kristianne says that her son has adjusted well to her absence, thanks to a strong network of family and friends.
And she admits that the thought of bettering her family’s life is a major incentive to work harder in her job.
“It’s how you count your blessings. It makes me feel great and motivated to do something more”.
Both Kristianne and Connie use Remitly to send a portion of their wages back to their families in the Philippines.
Remitly’s customer survey found that the most popular uses for funds sent home are:
- Education (46%)
- Housing (37%)
- Food (53%)
- Household supplies/needs (43%)
- Financially supporting their children’s caregivers (30%)
- 58% send money back for all of the above