Celebrating A Mother’s Invaluable Contribution

At Happy Helpers, we’re on a mission. A mission to unmess the lives of busy moms through trusted and reliable professional cleaning services, while simultaneously transforming the lives of mothers from vulnerable communities in the Philippines. For the past nine years, Happy Helpers has offered its home cleaning services including the flagship house cleaning service, the Deep Cleaning Service, Post Construction Cleaning Service, Move In & Move Out Cleaning Service, Aircon Cleaning Service, Hyla®️ Upholstery Cleaning Service, and Disinfection Services to homes and commercial establishments in Metro Manila, Cavite, and Laguna. 

In the World Economic Forum’s 2021 Global Gender Gap Report, the Philippines ranked first in the East Asia and Pacific (EAP) region and 17th globally in the Global Gender Gap Index Rankings at 78.4%. While this is a significant feat, unfortunately, there is still a notion that once a woman becomes a mother, her identity revolves around her husband and children. Co-founder Maan Sicam shared in the second episode of The Spark Project’s podcast, Why She Works: “Noong nag-iinterview kami ng mga Nanay, we had exactly the same problem - ‘Nanay lang ako’ o ‘housewife lang ako’ - I heard it so many times when we were starting Happy Helpers na nainis ako. No, you cannot say that. Your contribution is so much. [When we were interviewing mothers, we had exactly the same problem - ‘I’m just a mother’ or ‘I’m just a housewife’ - I heard it so many times when we were starting Happy Helpers that I just couldn’t take it. No, you cannot say that. Your contribution is so much.]”

As a social enterprise cleaning company, we collaborate with Filipina mothers and provide them with employment opportunities where they can earn extra income without sacrificing the time spent with their families and loved ones. In the same podcast, Maan highlighted: “The mission of Happy Helpers is for these mothers to see their value and see the better versions of themselves. So how do we do that? How do we make sure that they feel that self-worth? Because they are mothers. I am valuable because I am a woman, because I am a mother.” 

At Happy Helpers, these mothers enjoy a part-time arrangement where they work for a maximum of five hours a day, are compensated properly for it, and are able to still play a key role in raising their children and managing the household. 

When MJ Cabalquinto’s husband resigned from his job, her family relied on her income from Happy Helpers. “Napakalaking tulong ang Happy Helpers sa akin dahil mula po nagresign ang asawa ko sa trabaho niya, dito po ako umaasa sa pang-araw araw naming pangangailangan dahil po doon nakasurvive po kami. [After my husband resigned from his job, we have relied on Happy Helpers to help cover our daily expenses, and it is because of Happy Helpers that we are able to stay afloat.]”

Prior to joining Happy Helpers, Sheryll Abubo shared that she was a plain housewife whose life revolved around her family and children: “
Dati po ako ay isang plain housewife lang, as in pamilya lang ang iniikutan ng buhay ko, mga anak. Paano natulungan ang Happy Helpers? Noong nag Happy Helpers po ako, nagkaroon ako ng sarili ko pong kita, kumbaga, mayroon na po akong extra income bukod sa sinasahod ng asawa ko. [Before I joined Happy Helpers, I was a plain housewife - my whole world revolved around my family and my children. When I joined Happy Helpers, I was able to earn on my own, which meant we had extra income on top of what my husband was earning.]”

Teaching Filipina mothers to recognize their own contributions and own self-worth is a process that involves challenging the limitations and stereotypes that society has put in place: How do you teach these mothers that their identities and lives are not defined by their husbands and children? 

In a 2018 interview with Business World, Maan shared that these sentiments were common: “We were working with mothers like me. We were working with women who at my age – I’m 38 years old – are telling me, ‘Ma’am, I’m too old. My dreams are for my children.” With this sad and frustrating reality, Happy Helpers challenges this mindset through its skills training and life coaching. Maan shared: “We change their mindset and [teach them] to dream for themselves. We encourage them to dream. Because, why not? Declare your dreams then do what you need to do to achieve those dreams.”

Maris Llabado was part of the pioneering team of Happy Helpers back in 2015, and for the past nine years, Happy Helpers has been a significant help to her: “Ako ay isang simpleng nanay na nag-aalaga sa akin nag-iisang anak. Maraming po akong natutunan dito sa Happy Helpers - makikipagsalamuha at makipag kapwa tao sa mga katrabaho ko at ang pagbibigay ng respeto sa amin bawat isa. Malaking naitulong ito sa akin sarili upang makipagtulong sa mga gastusin sa loob ng bahay at mabili ang aking mga gustong bilhin. [I am a simple mother who takes care of her only child. I have learned a lot from Happy Helpers - how to get along with people including my co-workers, and to be respectful to each and every person. Happy Helpers has been a significant help with my household expenses, and now I can also buy items that I like for myself.]”

After resigning from her job as a lady guard, Nelly Señora wanted to play an active role in supporting her family especially since her husband lost his job: “
Bilang nanay, hindi ko po inaaksaya ang oras ko po para manatili lang sa bahay, gusto kong makatulong sa aking pamilya, lalo na sa aking mga anak at kung paano nakatulong sa akin ang Happy Helpers sa pamamagitan na dito kong kinukuha ang aking mga foods, billings, projects sa school ng mga anak na tatlo kong anak dahil nawalan ng trabaho ang mister ko. As a mother, I avoid wasting time by simple staying at home - I want to help my family, especially my children, and it is through Happy Helpers that I am able to do this. It is how I am able to afford food, pay my bills, and help my three children with their school projects, especially since my husband lost his job.”

Since 2015, Happy Helpers has collaborated with over 250 Filipinos, and the current team of 70 mothers make up the Taguig, Quezon City, and Muntinlupa branches. On top of offering trusted
home cleaning services, Happy Helpers transforms their lives beyond offering financial opportunities by teaching them to recognize their own contributions and self-worth in spite of society’s notions - that being a mother is something that they should be immensely proud of, and as mothers, they can continuously dream for themselves, and more importantly, have the strength and capabilities to turn these dreams into reality. 

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