Matatag: Filipina Care Workers During COVID-19

A Space Windows

October 14, 2021 – April 30, 2022

Matatag — steadfast amidst challenges — is a photo series by Filipina nurses, personal support workers, and in-home caregivers during COVID-19.

Using participatory action research and photovoice, care workers captured everyday moments of struggle while caring for the most vulnerable. They did so despite pandemic-related challenges, such as a lack of PPEs and sick days, intensified working requirements and precarious citizenship. Through kwentuhan (talk-story) sessions, they highlight what it is like to navigate work, immigration processes, and family separation and reunification. Above all, their narratives of hope, faith, and strength shine through.

While they have been lauded as resilient heroes, the romanticization of resilience cannot obscure systemic failures. By visualizing the lived realities of Filipina care workers, we aim to make a meaningful impact on Canadian labour and immigration policies that affect them the most.

Since July 2020, the “Filipina Care Workers and COVID-19” research team has been working with frontline Filipina care workers to identify their needs, concerns, and aspirations amid the pandemic. This project is led by Dr. Ethel Tungohan (Associate Professor and Canada Research Chair, York University) and other scholars, researchers, and community organizers from Gabriela-Ontario and Migrants Resource Center Canada: Dr. Jessica Ticar, Mithi Esguerra, Dr. Marissa Largo, Dr. Conely de Leon, Mauriene Tolentino, Bea Serdon, Silvia Gonzalez, Myka Jaymalin, Angela Natial, Leny Simbre, Mycah Panjaitan.

Maraming salamat (many thanks) to the 78 titas and ates who shared their stories.

Visit our website to learn more and take action to support Filipina care workers in Canada:

This project is supported in part by funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.