Stories by Qapwa

I was hesitant to apply for work after graduation. My cousin got rejected countless times on various jobs because of our religion. This disheartened me. I doubted if Iloilo was the right place for me to start a career. I feared that If I expect too much, I will only receive disappointment. It crossed my mind that I go back to Mindanao instead, where I was raised; where I felt that Muslims like me are more accepted. But this was five years ago.

I came across an industry which helped me realize my worth. I like my work because everybody accepted me. The color of my skin and my religion did not define the kind of person I am. I was given the right to work without feeling discriminated against, without people asking me why I need to wear my hijab. They did not question my practice of reading and reciting the Quran. My half a decade stay in this profession is proof that fairness still exists. All the hesitations I had before were replaced with excitement. Thanks to the BPO Industry. I am now happily employed and productive in society. I found a home. This is home. I will stay in Iloilo where I am accepted and people celebrate diversity.

-Paul Japitana