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Philippines: Myrna Padilla, a former domestic worker, develops an app to help protect overseas workers

Philippines: Myrna Padilla, a former domestic worker, develops an app to help protect overseas workers

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by Meredith McBride published Oct 25, 2014 04:29 PM
Myrna Padilla spent over two decades as a domestic worker abroad before returning home to the Philippines. She developed an app to connect overseas foreign workers together to help prevent them from abuse.

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PHILIPPINES -

Overseas foreign workers from the Philippines are able to meet and stay in touch using an app developed by former domestic worker Myrna Padilla. In the app, workers can chose the country they work in, home region, native dialect, and profession. The app also allows an 'opt in' option if you want to be contacted in a worker near you is in trouble.

An article featured Myrna Padilla's story: 

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In 2006, Padilla went home. From being a domestic worker and a labor rights advocate in Hong Kong, Padilla now heads Davao-based Mynd Consulting, a software company that eventually developed mobile application OFW Watch.

“I applied the knowledge that I gained from the Internet for my advocacy. We developed OFW Watch,” she said.

More than an application, OFW Watch aims to uphold volunteerism and unity among OFWs, while enabling an easier way to call for help.

“All they have to do is download the application and register. Once a person becomes a member of OFW Watch, they will automatically be included in the database,” said Padilla.

The app can detect a person’s location, as well as registered OFWs near him. When a problem or an irregularity is noticed, adjacent OFWs may be moved to take action.

The OFWs' other online accounts – such as Facebook – may also be synched with OFW Watch, so once a person stops communicating, other OFWs will notice.

Domestic worker no more

Photo: IACAT (Screen Capture)

According to Padilla, she discovered her hidden passion for computers through her 8-year-old ward in Hong Kong, Jonathan.

“My boss instructed me to follow Jonathan at all times. She told me, ‘Whenever he would open his computer, just watch. Don’t do anything,'” she shared.

At first, the idea of the job terrified a non-technology savvy Padilla.

Sabi ko noon, ‘Patay.’ (I said then, 'I'm doomed.') I didn’t even have the slightest idea what a computer was,” she said.

But as soon as she watched the 8-year-old use the computer, she was hooked. “I was very amazed. Every time the little black thing was moved, there were changes in the screen,” she shared with a laugh.

“I first learned how to use a mouse, then word applications, then surfing the Net, then e-mailing."

As of now, OFW Watch has more than 100,000 members, Padilla said. This was accomplished without advertising.

Read the original ariticle in full: Former HK domestic worker develops app for OFWs | Rappler

Source: Freda Mae Sorsano/Rappler

Story Type: Story

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