Cathy  a sweet Filipina Au pair

Cathy, The filipina au pair

This is Catherine when she was in Holland, her picture reflects sweetness and contentment of her experience with her host family in Holland. But she asked me not to published her present picture because she lost weight because she don’t want her family to worry when they see her now.

Catherine story is one of the many Filipina sad stories about the bad aupair situation in Denmark. I met her last Saturday sobbing while telling me her sad flight, her sad experiences with mind you 2 danish families.

The 1st danish host family

Catherine came to Denmark almost 5 months ago hoping to broaden her cultural horizons since she already worked as an aupair in Holland for 1 year she want to extent her stay in Europe. Nearing the end of her contract in Holland she tried to find possible au pair job in Denmark and she made contact to a family in Hellerup and they hired her as their au pair or offer (that’s danish for victim).

She received 2,500 dkk monthly in allowance thats the minimum allowance set up by the state but she worked more than the allowed maximum of 30 days per week. She was asked to baby sit for many hours sometimes 10 hours per week and she tried to talked to them and they said that they will see until she noticed she was already five months. It is not only long working hours but it’s more of how they treated her badly like she was not a part of the family but a house help. For along time she can not sleep and lost so much weight and she cannot take it anymore then one day while she was crying in the train station wondering what kind of hell she end up with. Another au pair approached her and gave her a telephone number of a family who is looking for an au pair. When she informed her host that she will transfer to a new family they immediately asked her to leave and sign a paper that she is transferring to this and that but it also written there without her knowledge (it was in danish) that her service as their au pair were paid but actually they owed her at least more than half a months salary but they told her that they will send it to her new address. They gå væk translated go out go out while laughing and shouted you will work your head and ass anywhere. Well maybe she’s witch because it became true. Just read on.

The 2nd danish host family

She then contacted that family in Holte where they promised her 3000 DKK allowance and a bus ticket to the city in her free time but it turned out that this 2nd family was worse than the first one. She starts to work 7.15 prepare breakfast and pack lunch, feed the kids, prepare the clothes and bathe and clothe them. She has to clean the house pick up the kids in Hellerup, do the laundry, help with the assignment, cook dinner, feed kids, prepare clothes for the next day etc. until around 8 pm. Wow that’s more than 10 hours everyday. For few days she don’t even have any break for meal just drank some tea that’s all. So when she received her schedule she reminded the lady of the house that she should only work max. 5 hours and also give her some breaks according to the contract they both signed but the dot the answer “You should see a doctor,I think you are depressed”, who will be depressed with that schedule just take a look below.

Cathy's Schedule

Cathy's Schedule

She managed to keep a copy of it. The worst part is they claim that they just copy their neighbours another Filipina au pair schedule which 5 or more pages thick and she also had a copy of that.
I gave her a contact number of a au pair counselor and she was really decided that she doesn’t want to stay with that family so now Cathy is trying to find a new family so she will have happy memories of Denmark before going back to the Philippines.
At the Foreign Service (Immigration Service)
  • When she went to the Foreign Service office to submit her new contract for the 2nd host she told them about her 1st host and showed the paper that she signed but they said that she can not used it for anything and ask them about her salary they said that they going to write them that they have to pay her.
  • Sunday she told the 2nd host that she don’t want to stay with them because of the long hours and it’s ok with them. Monday she went back again to the Foreign Service office with the lady (2nd host) to cancel the contract Cathy had submitted in the weekend but before that Cathy had to prepare breakfast and lunch of the children. I advised her that she make it sure that the conversation is in English but no they spoke in Danish and she tried to but the lady said that they will translate to her later. She asked the one worker or attendant from the foreign service if she can state the reason why she’s leaving the answer is”IT DOESN’T MATTER”. That I can not understand because according to their supervisors all au pairs that will change families should state why so if they are abused then they can reprimand the family or banning them to use the au pair system. If they heard her reasons they can tell that woman to do what is right and respect the right of the au pair. Now that lady is in the internet also looking for au pair but one Filipina she had interviewed said she wa offered only 2,500 DKK only and she thinks badly of Filipina then why she wants filipina? duh.
Cathy’s Life in Holland
She came to Holland thru a Au pair agency which she was very thankful because she did not pay exhorbitant fee like what some agency here in Denmark takes. The owner was also an au pair so she understand what are the problems of au pair. Before she flew to Holland she underwent a training for au pairs free of charge where she learned how to use vacuum cleaners, proper cleaning of the house and what types of cleaning chemicals to use, a short introduction of Hollands people and culture, caring for children etc.
The family she stayed with were nice and treated her like a member of the family. They also invited her to come with them in their holiday but when she declined they give her extra allowance. It is also included in her contract and its normal in Holland that they give 30minutes to 1 hour call to au pairs family in the Philippines and also mobile phone. Although the maximum stay is only 1 year au pair experience gratitude for the work or service of their offer like making a special day where the children gives some presents to their au pair. I think I haven’t heard of that here no matter how good or hardworking their au pairs were.
The pictures above was Cathy’s host family in Holland where as a loving family where they shown how they appreciate Cathy by making some memorable artworks for Cathy to treasure the rest of her life. You can obviously see how the Holland host family treat their au pair in contrast to the danish families.
Right now Catherine is still in Copenhagen and some kind hearted people are giving her accommodation and she is still looking although she’d been interviewed a lot of times she’s too careful now. Although she don’t have money she can sleep at night and if she can not find a family who will respect her as a person she can always go back in the Philippines because she can always find work. Even she said low paying but her dignity still in tact and she is respected. She has a degree in elementary education and taught in private school and also worked in a government office in her Town where the famous Mayon volcano lies.
If any one is interested to hire her you can leave contact me and I will give her your message.
If you have the same story good or bad just write to me and I will also feature you in this blog to make an au pair awareness so that the danish people become aware that slavery is dead and the Filipino people will know that working abroad is not always a bed of roses and AU PAIR IS NOT A DOMESTIC HELPER.

Re-post from: Ana Lindenhann
Posted by: Mel Alarilla