Young Women At Work – A Worker’s Story



I am Clarissa P. Cena, 20 years old living in Candulawan, Talisay City, Cebu, Philippines. A YCW member since 2011.

We are 7 siblings in the family, consisting of 3 brothers and 3 sisters and I am the second to the youngest. I am an honor student since elementary until high school in a public school.

Though I wanted to continue my study in tertiary level but was not able to proceed because after my graduation in high school my parents told me that I need to stop schooling because of the higher tuition fees in college they cannot afford to send and support me.

The fact that my father is a public utility jeepney driver and earning only for our daily needs and my mother is a plain housewife. With this reality and seeing myself not to continue my study I decided to go to work to earn some amount of money to support my study later.

I applied in agency and they send me to private company as a janitress with 8 hour work and Php325.00 salary per day or US7.38 ($9.43AUD). It took only 3 months for me to work in the agency because I am only a reliever or an on call worker, usually 3 day’s work in a week. I don’t receive any benefits from the company.

My second job was a cashier in a junk shop with a Php150.00 per day salary or US3.40 ($4.35AUD) and with 10 hour’s work. I also left the job because my employer wants me to take care of the child of their relatives and I felt it’s hard for me to do the work so I decided to resign.

Despite of all what happened in my previous job, I am very eager to look and save some amount of money for my study until I applied and hired as a sales clerk in a pharmacy. My salary was Php153.00 per day or US3.47 ($4.44AUD) working from 9:30am to 7:30pm without benefits; the same with the 2 jobs I experienced.

This is my reality for almost 1 year and I felt too tired with the situation. Bearing in mind my dreams to finish study retreating is not the option to take, I realized that if you’re not a college or graduate in that level you have a little chance to get a good job with enough salary.

With this perspective I am now a working student of a couple who were instructors of the University where I am studying. I am taking a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration Major in Banking and Finance Management.

Though I am a working student, I still manage to focus more of my time on studies, and am glad to say that I am one of the dean’s lister in our department.

My life as a working student is not easy. I have to wake up around 4:00 in the morning to begin my work, like preparing for the breakfast of my employer and other household chores, and it’s a whole day work when I don’t have a class.

As a working student, I oblige to stay in their house and need to work there for one year without pay so I became a domestic helper first before they allowed me to my schooling.

They paid my tuition fees only but the other needs in school like projects and other miscellaneous I need to provide and pay for myself. They just give me Php500.00 or US11.36 ($14.52AUD) allowance per month and they don’t allow me to go home even if there is a special holiday. My class is only three days in a week alternately. So most of the time I’m working in their house or in their water refilling station business.

Seeing this reality with the help of YCW, I decided not to continue to work with my current employer because during the follow up and ROLWA of YCW, to me I’ve seen many things on how to continue my studies without degrading my life and losing my strength for them.

I will just finish this semester, and I will transfer to one YCW Cebu collaborator who gave their word of help in assisting me to finish my studies. All of these realities and struggles will surely cannot endure without the reflections, recommendations and ROLWA among my fellow comrades as well as collaborators and chaplain.

Having faith, hope and continuing action personally and with the group always gave me courage to push myself more, and for sure with the help of YCW I know my dreams as a graduate student will be achieved.

If these things happen I will be much able to help my family. YCW continue to inspire me and serves as my foundation for pursuing my dreams. They gave me good advice and motivation. It gives me wisdom. I’ve learned how to be strong to face the day to day challenges in life.

Prepared by:

Clarissa P. Cena

YCW – Cebu Member

If you, like Clarissa, have a story that you wish to share, please contact We invite and look forward to all kinds of worker’s stories to share with the YCW community.

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