TORONTO - Fourteen university graduates seeking the proverbial greener pastures.
They hold master’s and bachelor’s degrees in business administration, banking and finance, midwifery, secondary education, pharmacy, computer programming, biology, physical therapy, psychology, nursing and biology.
In Toronto, they are called by their generic job description: caregivers.
One sees them in libraries, in streets pushing baby carts and wheelchairs. They tag along older people, walking with them as if they’re live canes. They minister to their wards like nurses ministering to patients. They also are their wards’ sympathetic confidants.
Some of them are abused – verbally, physically, sexually. Some are exploited for their helplessness by employers who see in them an opportunity to be instant slave owners. The many risks notwithstanding, they toil patiently. They work long hours than their employers care to pay.
Still, they labor hard for that chance to stay in Canada for good because that would open doors for vast challenges that could improve their lives and their kins’ back home.
They are caregivers, yes, but on Saturday night, they threw all caution to the wind to savour that moment of glory. The 14 turned overnight into beauty queens and competed with their peers for the title Miss Caregiver 2011. (Featured video is available at Vimeo at: http://vimeo.com/27417979
Top attendees at Saturday's gathering included Philippine Consul General Pedro Chan and Mayor David Ryan of the City of Pickering. Toronto Mayor Rob Ford was a no-show.
The pageant organized eight years ago by Fil-core Support Group has been helping others in dire straits. Right now, part of proceeds raised from the contest are sent to two family beneficiaries in the Philippines.
Edna Tiosen, Fil-core chair, said the yearly event is dedicated to all caregivers who have left the Philippines to work in Canada.