Filipino Caregivers Launch Research About Workplace Conditions

San Francisco, CA—On April 4, 2012, the Bayanihan Community Center’s main hall was lined with lights and pictures of theater workshops, research trainings and community discussions held in the past 3 months at the Filipino Community Center. Since December 2011, an intergenerational mix of Filipinos came together to embark on a research training course that would prepare them to conduct research about the lives and work conditions of caregivers in San Francisco/Bay Area. The training under a program called, “The CARE Project,” CARE short for Caregiver Research, pulled together Filipino immigrants working as caregivers and American students from surrounding colleges and Filipino young professionals. The twice-a-month series, taught the CARE Project trainees skills in building research tools, conducting interviews and analyzing data. The training’s objective is to train caregivers and community members to study the living and working conditions of caregivers in San Francisco and San Mateo counties.

On April 4, the community researchers culminated their training through a commencement that included speeches and certificates from San Francisco Supervisor John Avalos and Supervisor Eric Mar. “This is the kind of power we need to build to see the change we need for our communities,” said Avalos in his opening remarks. Worker organizations, citywide, national and international expressed their congratulatory comments to the CARE Project graduates. National Domestic Workers Association speaker, Guillermina Castellanos, expressed her deep appreciation for workers putting the time aside to organize and speak for themselves. Pam Tau Lee for the Bay Area Care Council commented on the exciting possibilities of the research that is yet to be undertaken as it could move legislation to protect caregivers forward.

Other Filipino migrant worker organizations like PAWIS from the South Bay and East Bay sent speakers who stated their support for the CARE Project in hopes that they can replicate similar initiatives in their own areas. Kabalikat Domestic Worker Support Network from New York City and MIGRANTE International from Manila, Philippines also sent videos of solidarity urging caregivers and community members of the CARE Project to keep their momentum going.

The night culminated with Supervisor Mar delivering certificates alongside Mario De Mira, a CARE Project Coordinator, Dr. Valerie Francisco of University of San Francisco and Dr. Robyn Rodriguez of UC Davis who are partners in the research project. A caregiver who will be called, S, gave a moving acceptance speech that recounted his story of hopelessness as he was a victim of wage theft in his job as a caregiver. S noted that the CARE Project renewed his faith in community efforts and collective strength to change the lives and conditions of caregivers. S stated, “In my place of darkness, I not only found a light in the CARE Project, but a family, friends, and people who are willing to fight for what’s right.”

The CARE Project commencement also doubled as the launch of the research portion of the project. In the coming months, the trained community researchers will begin collecting both qualitative and quantitative data about caregivers’ workplace conditions in the Bay Area. The CARE Project is conducted in collaboration of the Filipino Community Center (FCC), the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns, and GABRIELA USA.

The research will be conducted over the summer through various events at the FCC and mobile outreach efforts to important Filipino institutions.  If you want to contribute your experience as a caregiver, please contact Mario de Mira at 415-333-6267 and mario@filipinocc.org.

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