Filipina cleaner plans for future after scooping Dh100,000 prize at UAE workplace awards

Maria Isabel Marcierda, 44, said her winnings will go towards her children's university education and the construction of a house back home

Maria Isabel Macierda won Dh100,000 at an awards event celebrating the efforts of UAE businesses and workers. Khushnum Bhandari / The National
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A Filipina cleaner who won Dh100,000 at a ceremony honouring outstanding contributions from UAE workers has said her success came as a complete surprise.

Maria Isabel Macierda, 44, was named among the winners in the workforce category at the Emirates Labour Market Awards held recently by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation

Ms Marcierda, who works as a cleaning assistant at the Emirates Business Group, was handed her cheque at the ceremony.

She was one of 18 workers who were awarded Dh100,000.

“I didn't believe it and thought it was a scam because no one in my company told me,” said Ms Marcierda, who lives in Al Khalidiya, Abu Dhabi.

She said none of her colleagues were aware until the company's human resources department announced the news.

“I still felt surprised and had mixed feelings of happiness and anxiety because this is the first time this has happened to me.

“When I was finally given the amount, I started thanking God who listened and answered my prayers and dreams,” she said.

She said she was given the award based on her company's staff performance assessments.

“I suppose the performance evaluation showed that I was one of the best-performing staff members,” she said.

Ms Marcierda moved to the UAE in 2011, from the Philippines where she worked as a live-in cleaner before joining a cleaning services company in 2014.

Four years later, she joined the Emirates Business Group where she has been working ever since.

Investing in the future

Ms Marceida said she has already invested her prize money in a 3,229 square foot plot in her homeland.

“I want to build a house, plant trees and raise animals,” she said.

Ms Marceida, who wed at 17 and has two children aged 24 and 27, also said her hard work in the UAE had been focused on funding her children's university education.

When she told them about her good news, Ms Marceida said they were overjoyed.

“They told me that I deserve this and that I am a good worker and a good mother.

“My daughter may come to the UAE for a visit in June. I will start processing her visa,” she said.

Updated: January 26, 2024, 7:23 AM