Yolanda Romero’s story is one that many aspire to have. Starting with the sacrifice of leaving your own home country with the goal of giving your family a better life. This is the story of Yolanda’s journey from salon employee to own boss in Morocco
Yolanda traveled to work as a manicurist in Rabat and later in Tangier, a port city in Morocco.
Yolanda, a single mother, withstood the burden of working abroad despite receiving a small paycheck because she wanted her two remaining children in the Philippines to complete their education.
Becoming A Boss
Steeling herself to make a decision, she quit her job and opened a tiny salon in her rental home.
She managed to attract her old customers and incredibly tripled her income.
“I got meager pay compared to what was initially promised to me. I’m thankful that now, my earning is thrice higher than what I get from my previous employer,” she told the Philippine News Agency (PNA).
“Now I have a business ID, too. My clients visit me directly that’s why I’m also able to help other Filipinos because I know a lot of Moroccans” she added.
Yolanda never got a bad experience from the Moroccans, rarely ever hearing about abuse.
She did, however, acknowledge that her first few years of employment abroad were not without their challenges.
“Imagine, I left my children, borrowed money from my agency because I don’t have money to shell out. Two months after that, my mother died,” she narrated.
After working for ten years, she discovered her employer had neglected to process her social security fund.
“I just trusted them but when the pandemic came, that’s when we found out we don’t have a CNSS (Caisse Nationale de Sécurité Sociale),” she said
“I sympathize with my fellow Filipinos working in the salon now because I could see myself in them. Back then, even when I was sick, I don’t have a choice but to clock in, you need to work even if you’re burning up with fever– I went through it all,” she added.
Unaware of her own rights she struggled and endured these hardships for years. On one event, she asked for a raise but her boss’ response was that she wasn’t in her own country.
“I endured everything because I don’t know Morocco, and at that time we don’t have an Embassy to turn to for help, the Moroccans are kind but strict with the finances. It’s also rare that an employer would process your papers and get you a residence card.” she said.
With the reopening of the Philippine Embassy in Rabat, assistance would be simpler for the Filipinos living in Morocco.
The Filipina said a delegation visit was understandably uncommon given the distance from Libya to Morocco back when the North African state was still governed by the Philippine Embassy in Tripoli.
“The Filipinos back then were pitiful that’s why it’s good that we opened the Embassy here. When there is a problem, I can easily refer them to the Labor office or the Embassy.” the business owner who is also a Filipino community leader in Tangier said.
Motivation: For Her Children
Yolanda declared to keep going, this time to raise money for the house she is constructing in the Philippines.
“When I was still in the Philippines, I worked for 17 years as a manicurist, it’s hard because even if I doubled my efforts, my income was not enough. Thank God, my kids have finished their studies,”
Yolanda’s main motivation that always keeps her going for higher is all for her children. “I will continue to persevere because the house Being constructed at home is still for them so that when I’m gone, I have something that I can leave. All my efforts are for my children”