Women domestic workers pose for a photograph during the ‘Women of Wonder’ event held by St Mary’s Church at its school in Dubai to honour them yesterday. Image Credit: Atiq ur Rehman/Gulf News

Dubai: It was the nannies day out as over 600 domestic workers converged on the St Mary’s School football ground on Friday for a fun-filled event to honour them.

It was really a ‘Wow!’ moment as the Samaritan ministry of St Mary’s Church pampered nannies, the unsung heroes of homes, in an event entitled ‘Women of Wonder’ (WOW). Several nannies and domestic workers sporting sunny smiles and best outdoor dresses hailing from India, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Nigeria, Ethiopia and Kenya, and from various religions walked into the grounds at 8am and were treated to a sumptuous breakfast, followed by games, a cultural extravaganza, a beauty contest and raffle draws, followed by a Dubai city tour.

They were also treated to lunch and snacks.

Shaikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Tolerance, inaugurated the event and paid tribute to the hardworking community of women domestic workers.

Shaikh Nahyan said the UAE has a great tradition of honouring the dignity of women and safeguarding their rights from the days of Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan. founding father of the nation. All his predecessors have upheld this heritage.

Shaikh Zayed saluted all nannies who selflessly put the interest of the family and children under their care first and work hard giving others the freedom to fulfil their dreams, Shaikh Nahyan said.

Father Lennie Connolly, Parish Priest of St Mary’s Church, said the church organises a special programme every year to honour the underprivileged including blue-collar workers. “This time we decided to honour these wonderful domestic workers who work so hard and with such responsibility to spread joy and happiness in the lives of the children under their care and the families they work for.”

Mary Jane, 43, from the Philippines was really excited to get on the bus that would take her on a Dubai city tour.

“In a few months, I complete 10 years of service and I have been with a single Emirati family. When I started with them a decade ago, they just had one child and over the years the family kept growing. I am very attached to all four children and love them to bits,” said Jane.

Back home, she has three grown-up children aged 22, 13 and 12 and is already a grandmother of a two-year-old. However, Jane has never had the leisure to go on a city tour.

“I am so excited. I really enjoyed the lovely snacks and meal. I was hoping to be lucky to win a raffle draw. There were exciting prizes of television, karaoke set and airline tickets, but I was not that fortunate,” she said while boarding the bus with her friends.

Three friends from the tribal belt of Jharkhand in India, who have spent over a decade in Dubai, were as excited as Jane to get an opportunity to see Dubai.

Anita Soren, who has worked as a bus nanny for a Sharjah school for the last 10 years, said: “I love my job, looking after toddlers and making sure they reach home safely. It is a big responsibility. I am glad I am getting this chance to see the city as I have heard so much about Burj Khalifa and Atlantis, the Palm and today I will get a chance to see these.”

Morice Thetie, 35, who has spent 18 years working for a single family in Jebel Ali, said: “I feel proud to have raised very good children who are all working now. Some of them have their own businesses. I have always been happy and now events like this give a chance to my friends and me to enjoy our lives too.”

Ainma Dharwar is also from a tribal family in Jharkhand and works for a family in Meydan. She has lived in Dubai for the last six years.

“I am very happy with the family I am with and am responsible for cleaning, cooking, washing and many other housekeeping duties along with looking after the kids when they get back from school. I love the kids and today I am feeling blessed to get this opportunity to enjoy a real treat with my friends.”