When Marilyn Orit left home in 2007, she was well prepared for a long road ahead. Even so, she could have never predicted she would come this far. From Maasin City, Philippines, she traveled all the way to Hong Kong where she started working with the Orchard family. Two years ago, she followed them to Singapore and has been living with them ever since. Adjusting to a new environment becomes a lot easier when your employers are like family to you.
Written by: Vitttoria O.
Marilyn in Singapore in 2014
It was Marilyn’s employer who encouraged her to enrol in Aidha. Marilyn did not think twice about it. Within a week she was enrolled and even before finishing Module 1, she was already enrolled in Module 2. Very early in her training, Marilyn understood that Aidha was going to change her life. Her mentors guided her through the learning process and gave her confidence and inspiration to finally put her abilities to use.
Marilyn with her Compass Club classmates and mentor Mr. Matt Naim
Her business idea has been rooted in her mind since 2013 when typhoon Haiyan struck her home province in Philippines, wiping out sanitation and water services. Marilyn’s parents and sister drank polluted water, ending up in hospital. Marilyn was far away and felt very helpless. “One day,” she thought to herself, “I will bring potable water to our community.” It seemed like a distant dream back then, but thanks to everything she has learned through Aidha, that day has now come. On 28th September 2016, Marilyn’s water station opened to its first customers. Besides being a great personal accomplishment, the water station is without question one of the most valuable services to the entire community.
The Municipal Water District Engineer (Mr. Basa) and the head of the village (Mrs. Basa) at the opening of Marilyn’s water station in September 2016
She says, “In 18 months, I haven’t stopped talking about water stations. Can you imagine? I’m sure I am annoying people.” The truth is, nobody is annoyed. Everybody is proud and one of Marilyn’s Compass Club mentors, Mr. Matt Naim, even visited her hometown in Philippines. “When I see what I have accomplished, it makes me feel alive,” says Marilyn. Thanks to Aidha and her own determination, Marilyn will relive this feeling over and over again when she finally returns home next year.
Marilyn’s mum (far right) and two sisters (center) with a friend at the water station in 2016