A statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary at the home of one of the members of the Catholic church group in Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain in July 2020. The group was one of the first responders that distributed ayuda or relief packages to the Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) who were laid off from work since the start of the pandemic.

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As of July 2020, almost 13,869 Filipinos got laid off from work since the start of the Covid-19 crisis in early February in Bahrain. This is almost 25% of the general population of Filipinos who are legally living and working in the Kingdom. The estimated population of legal Filipino migrants is 55,756.


Ayuda is a Filipino term meaning ‘aid’ or ‘assistance’ in the form of money or goods.


This project was completed under the mentorship of Christopher Morris/VII Academy

One of the group leaders calls the person who will pick up the relief package at a drop-off point in Gudaibiya.

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Gina, an active member, volunteers for the repackaging of the goods and distribution of the ayuda. She has been volunteering since the group started distributing relief packages in March. She got laid off at her work in June.

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Gina prepares the food she will be selling to make ends meet while she is out of work. She has been working and living in Bahrain for almost ten years.

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Gina speaks to one of her children via video call. Her daughter, who just graduated in K-12, recently celebrated her 18th birthday. She hopes to become a doctor in the future.

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Emjhae (left), plays with baby Simon held by his father, Jeff (right). She independently mobilized her own group to help other kabayans (fellow countrymen) by providing ayuda and temporary rent-free homes when some Filipinos began losing their jobs in February.

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Jeff and Simon at Emjhae's home. He and his wife both lost their jobs at the start of the pandemic. His wife recently got hired at a restaurant. He stays at home to take care of their son.

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Margaret (not her real name), a house cleaner, tells her story about how she jumped off at the second floor balcony of her employer’s home. She contacted Emjhae to ask for help and if she could stay at her house until she recovers.

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Margaret cleans her dish after eating dinner. She dangerously escaped from her employer because he is planning to sell her to another employer since her visa is expiring. 

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Margaret rests her foot now covered with bandage a week after I first interviewed her. 

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