As a single mother herself, 53-year old Fatima Punsalan Ramos from the Philippines, who moved out of the country 18 years ago and works as a nanny to support her five children. She understands the trials and tribulations of parents struggling to make ends meet to provide for their kids. This is one reason that drives her each day to support and make it easy for the less fortunate and their families. After hearing stories of how the pandemic affected the lives of families and their babies, no wonder Fatima’s instincts took charge, and she decided to embark on the journey to make a difference.
Shining Through The Storms
“I know how it feels when your baby doesn’t have milk or even basic needs. That was the very reason I had decided to work outside the Philippines. During globalization, in 1983, I lost my job. I didn’t want to deprive my children of anything, and so when I came across my first job, which was in Hong Kong, I decided to move. Since then, I have moved across several countries and cities from Oman to Macau to be able to provide for my five children,” she narrates.
So when Fatima heard of two Filipino babies who lost their mom to Covid after an acquaintance directed her to them, she was determined to help no matter how much time she would have to devote towards the cause. “After hearing of that, I immediately reached out to people over social media and WhatsApp checking if they can help the children in any way, whether it is by raising money or helping them in any other way. Luckily, loads of people responded with what they could do for the children, and we all together managed to help them,” she says.
A Journey of Dedication, Love, And Selflessness
From thereon, more parents in need increasingly have been reaching out to her, some asking for help and some others expressing their desire to join her in making the difference. “Another lady from the UK named Sarah has joined my quest in helping people. From diapers, milk to clothes, shoes, and toys, we have been putting together something for the babies of every family that reaches out to us,” she remarks, pleased that her efforts are being noticed.
Fatima notes that what was heartening to see along the way was the magnanimity of people and their urge to help out. “We have seen people being extremely generous in giving away. Even those who couldn’t afford much have in their own ways contributed by either donating diapers or just Cerelac. Suddenly one lady who was unable to pay rent and her business was shut down reached out to us and offered to give away over 1500 diapers,” she recounts. She admits that social media has been imperative in helping her spread out the word, in reaching out to those in need, and receiving help from some others who wanted to contribute to the mission.
Moreover, Fatima makes it a point to personally reach out to parents, checking if she can do something for them. “It fills my heart when I see happy children and parents and their smiles. That is unmatched,” Fatima smiles. She believes that good deeds are always paid off. “When you help people, the return to you is always good health and the positivity that you feel in your life after filling someone’s life with love and giving,” she exclaims.
Recently, she raised money for a family that could not afford portable oxygen. “So many people contributed to buy the oxygen tank for the family. This is how it works. More and more people are giving their stuff away to distribute to the needy. People are really willing to help when they see that the intention is good and that you are sincere,” Fatima remarks.
Moreover, she ensures she extends help to her home country Philippines during any episodes of disaster or adversity. “When the region was struck by the Typhoon storm last year, we gathered huge boxes of goods and sent them over to the right people who will distribute them to those in need,” she shares.
Despite working for long hours herself, Fatima believes that reaching out and helping people keeps her going. “I would rather spend my time helping people because I always believed that this world is not permanent, and I’m doing this for the end of my journey. Allah is my biggest inspiration in this.”
Radiating Gratitude And Love
For Fatima, it’s about the sincerity of the heart and innate desire to radiate lives with love that she emphasizes on. “I feel amazing when I put all my efforts in gathering something for some family and finally give it to them. To see those smiles and that gratitude is something different. I sometimes take pictures of happy babies when I give them something, but that is only for memory, and I don’t believe in posting that on social media. They are in a trying situation, so how can we give them something and put that social media. I believe that we should help those in need but don’t exploit them for social media or to be popular,” she asserts.
Another thing that keeps her going is the love and encouragement the selfless mother receives from her children. “My eldest one is an engineer. My kids always tell me, mom we are so proud of you, you are such a good person, and we can’t imagine how you are doing this in another country. That is enough to get me through a hard day when the going gets tough,” she says with a twinkle in her eyes.