Marina was on her way back to the Philippines before she got the news she was dreading — she had tested positive for COVID-19.

Marina went to the hospital from the airport but had to spend the night outside in the cold as there was no space. She was asked to wait until the quarantine centre in Penny’s Bay could take her in.

She sat outside in the hospital driveway all night, covering herself just with a thin blue blanket with no access to water, food or easy access to a washroom.

“I was scared as I did not know what would happen next and I felt hurt because I was rejected and treated unfairly,” says Marina.

She got a room in Penny’s Bay by afternoon the next day, and HELP supported her with care packages. She was discharged a few days post a negative result.

But fate had other plans.

Marina tested positive once again for the virus. This meant she couldn’t fly home again. HELP made temporary arrangements for her to stay at a shelter for more than a month. HELP also supported her with applying for an extension to her visa and offered counselling for her case.

During this time, Marina tested positive three times, having to reschedule her flights each time. She missed her family’s companionship, felt anxious about the uncertainty of when she could return and was emotionally distressed.

Marina finally made it back home and now takes care of her ailing father, nursing him back to health. She says she is happy living with her two kids and husband.

Marina doesn’t plan to return to Hong Kong anytime soon and says she remains traumatised by the homelessness she had to face and needs time to recover.

“When domestic workers face challenges they are either scared or don’t have the knowledge of how to enforce their rights”, Marina says. “So we shouldn’t be afraid to seek support from sources who can help domestic workers”, she added. “Don’t be afraid, and keep faith”.