Gawad Kasambahay, a CSR-led initiative, has announced the opening of nominations for its 2023 awards program. The initiative aims to recognize the dedication and hard work of Filipino household service workers in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as part of the marginalized sector of the community.
The awards program, with its goal “Pasasalamat at Pagkilala sa mga Natatanging Kasambahay sa United Arab Emirates,” features various categories including the Loyalty Award, Lady Driver of the Year, Nanny of the Year, House Cook of the Year, Kasambahay Achiever, Bread Winner of the Year, Household Manager of the Year, and K! Idol.
To be eligible for the awards, nominees must have a minimum of three consecutive years of service as a household worker in the UAE as of November 4, 2022. They must also be a Filipino citizen, female, and have a valid residence visa in the UAE, along with proof of employment history and photos of their service.
The inaugural edition of Gawad Kasambahay was held on November 29, 2019, and the initiative is more than just an award-giving program. It serves as an organization where members can build new friendships, explore common interests, create notable experiences, and develop skills that may be valuable in the long run.
Aside from the plaque and certificates, the winners will also receive prizes from the organizer, sponsors, and other stakeholders that cannot be redeemed for cash.
The organizers of Gawad Kasambahay hope that the initiative will help in raising awareness and appreciation for the hard work and sacrifices made by Filipino household workers in the UAE. It also aims to promote camaraderie among its members and empower them to pursue their dreams and aspirations.
Prof. Gau Raganit, Chairman of Philippine Business Council in Abu Dhabi, was one of the judges who the organizers tapped for the event.
“I believed in humble cause of Gawad Kasambahay particularly in rebranding “stereotypes” against the industry and to highlight their dedication to be of service. I believed that “we are more that what we are right now” and regardless of reason of working here in UAE or the nature of their work. Every Filipino must be dignified, acknowledged, appreciated and celebrated,” he said.
He also believed that the contributions of household service workers is not hidden.
“Statistics shows that Kasambahay accounts to around 30% of the total Filipino workforce in UAE which equates to economic contributions not only through remittances but also in consumer purchasing power in both the United Arab Emirates and the Philippines,” he added.
“They are the first one who will send money to their family back home. They will be the first one to buy something for their family members. They will give everything they have for their love one’s happiness.”
For her part, Dr. Mary Jane Alvero, the CEO of Prime Group, said that her reason for supporting the event is to recognize the strength and patience of kasambahays.
“They sacrifice selflessly to provide the needs of not only their family but their extended families too,” she said.
“These kasambahays swallow their pride and patiently accept whatever their employers require them to do even if they are not feeling well sometimes just to satisfy them,” she added.
“The kasambahays for me are the ones showing the bayanihan values of the Filipinos,” she further added.
She also firmly believed that they have a great contribution in the Philippine economy as they are the ones sending their whole earnings consistently to their families.
“When they go back home for good, these Kasambahays are the ones who eagerly improve their lives by establishing even a small backyard business to sustain their needs and not to work abroad anymore,” she said.
To nominate an individual for the awards, interested parties can visit www.gawadkasambahay.com.
The deadline for submission of nominations will be on March 25, 2023. With the opening of nominations, the organizers are looking forward to receiving inspiring stories of household workers who have gone above and beyond their duties to serve their employers and the community.