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04.18.131:53 PM ET

Distance and Desperation for Filipina Moms

Women from the Philippines are increasingly taking work overseas to support their families, leaving their children behind.

Filipina women have found it increasingly necessary to take work abroad—they now make up 48 percent of the country’s overseas workers—because jobs are so scarce at home. The $20 billion Filipinos send back to their families accounts for about 8 percent of their economy. While the money is appreciated, many of these women have left behind children who are now virtually motherless, connecting with their moms only by phone or Internet chatting. Melanie Torres, a nurse who worked for three years in Bahrain, saved $25 to call her daughters three times a week, but when she returned home, they hardly recognized her and no longer turned to her for help, but to their father. She’s happy to be back with them, but like other mothers who come home, she must return to work abroad again soon. “I have no choice,” she told Women’s eNews. “I am only waiting for my papers for a job in Australia. What I am earning now is still not enough for my husband and our daughters.”