Text and photos by Tina Manipis-Almack

I am feeling stuck and lost, and finding it hard to move on.
It breaks me down into bits I’ve never known before.
I need to get up, return to the reasons why I am here,
and look beyond where I want to go or what I want to do.
I must put the pieces of myself together and lay it down on the floor to recreate myself.
Do not be afraid to cry, shout or fear.
Make a silhouette of myself with a stronger spine and a stronger voice this time to say the words that I was never allowed to say.
Bigger eyes to see a clearer vision of truth and hypocrisy.
Start once more.

– Tina Manipis-Almack

Many Filipinos migrated to Ireland to look for a greener pasture but not Tina. She went to Ireland to volunteer as a care worker for a special needs community to conduct research for her PhD dissertation. In the back of her mind, this was also her chance to escape a violent relationship with her husband. She informed her children that she will be gone for a long time but would keep in touch. She assured  them  that she would do her best to pave the way  for them to join her in Ireland.As time passed, her papers expired, and she became undocumented, living in constant fear of being caught – a “shadow”  like all the undocumented in Ireland.

She made Ireland her home, trying to fit into a culture far from her Asian origin. Everything was new — a new”Her” attempting  to start over. She forgot  her educational accomplishments and embraced a simple lifeas a caregiver for the elderly, miles away from her capabilities as a former university professor.  Not a day has passed without missing her children, spending birthdays, graduations, and special milestones in their lives from distance.  Her children experienced the challenges of being a teenager without the guidance of a mother. She too has suffered of mourning at a distance when her mother and brother passed away. She was grieving alone watching their funerals via video call.

She has accepted her fate to start anew. She has joined a lot of campaigns for the immigrants in Ireland and has volunteered as a Community Navigator to help immigrants who are victims of gender based violence. She was very active creating campaigns for this cause and has spearheaded a fund raising project for Women’s Aid through a Harley Davidson ride out in 2022.

Like Tina, there are a  lot of women in Ireland who are experiencing gender based violence. According to Women’s Aid, One in Four women in Ireland are subjected to domestic abuse. 14% of women in Ireland have experienced physical violence by a partner (current or former) since the age of 15. There are 33,990disclosures of domestic abuse against women and children which is 16% increase in contacts compared to previous year and the highest ever received by Women’s Aid in its almost 50 year history (Women’s Aid Annual Impact Report 2022). 12 women died violently in 2022 according to Femicide Watch.

THIS HAS TO STOP! We can stop this if our voice can be heard! The EU election is a great opportunity for us to be heard. We shall vote for the right candidate for this election!

Between June 6-9 2024, millions of Europeans will be participating in shaping the future of European democracy. They will collectively decide on the future of the European Union through voting.This is an excellent opportunity to have a say on topics we all care about! EU laws tackle most people’s priorities: the environment, women’s rights, gender-basedviolence, security, migration, social policies, consumer rights, economy, rule of law and many more. By voting, we have the opportunity to select representatives who will prioritize and address these issues, echoing the struggles and aspirations of individuals like Tina and many others.

YOUR VOTE WILL DECIDE WHICH MEMBERS OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT WILL REPRESENT YOU in preparing new laws and will influence the election of the European Commission.