After struggling to find a stable job in her hometown in the Philippines, Gleia Mae Duenas and her husband had to turn their house into a storage facility. When her four-year-old daughter innocently asked her why they had to live in a storage house, Gleia knew she had to do something to secure a better life for their futures.
Written by: Preethy Sajan
As painful as it was to leave her young daughters in the Philippines, Gleia also had to deal with a separation from her husband soon after she moved to Singapore in 2011 to work as a domestic worker. All through her rough patches, Gleia was looking for an opportunity to study. She remembered how someone told her that she was too old to pursue studying. Her strong-minded spirit was determined to prove that wrong. In 2017, she chanced upon Aidha while searching online for courses and she walked into the Dover campus one day and enrolled. She proudly talks about how she paid for her own education…it was the dawn of a new chapter in her life.
Gleia shared her inspiring story to an audience at a Benefit Cosmetics event
After three years of studying at Aidha, Gleia graduated with a wealth of knowledge and skills. She did not want to go back to her home country empty-handed, so she put her knowledge into use by saving money to build a house in the Philippines, thereby fulfilling her dream of becoming a landowner and setting up a hostel business. Her incredible journey is proof that age is no bar for learning and with a positive mind, you can achieve any dream!
Let us hear from Gleia:
- What is your dream or goal in life?
To be happy in life and be financially secured for my children’s future, so they will never follow my path in life.
- What is your favourite pastime?
I like to bake, mostly cakes (personalised cakes) or pastries.
- What is your favourite hangout spot/activity in Singapore?
Schools. I usually use my free days/off days to learn new things and get new skills.
- What is the one piece of advice you would like to give your younger self?
Never stop learning no matter how hard life is, and follow my instinct.
- Name a place anywhere in the world you would love to visit.
Countries that I really want to see are the UK, US and Canda.
- What is your biggest achievement in life to date?
The knowledge that I gathered here in Singapore, especially at Aidha. I have implemented what I have learned here. I do have some investments now. I managed to overcome the hardest situation in my life and slowly transformed into a strong woman.