The money comes at a time when it's most needed: UAE's best nanny

Saman Haziq/Dubai
Filed on December 15, 2018 | Last updated on December 15, 2018 at 05.00 am
The money comes at a time when its most needed: UAEs best nanny


She has been working as a nanny for 17 years.

Rosie Villa, 39, from the Philippines, won the title of UAE's Best Nanny for 2018 on Friday from among the 42 nannies who were shortlisted for the award. She will receive a one-million Philippine peso (Dh69,100) retirement fund as her prize.

The award received more than 2,000 nominations from families from all across the UAE.

The award, an initiative of a fintech platform for migrants called 'rise', celebrated its third year. The winner gets a retirement fund worth 1,000,000 in her home country's currency to help her realise her dreams. Last year, 45-year-old Filipina Melanie Manansala bagged the award.

Families and friends nominated their nannies online for the award by filling out a form on Facebook, entering the contest by posting a picture of their nanny and answering the questions about the nanny in detail. Next, they had to share the post on

Facebook and encourage their friends to like it as every like was counted as a vote.

A panel of four experts assessed nannies on critical childcare skills in the areas of child-learning and development, building a nurturing environment, safety, health and nutrition, impact to the family and role modeling, scaling all the potential winners down to the top finalists, and then again to the final winner.

Expert panel included - Michelle LaRowe, Stella Reid, Sarah Rasmi and Caroline Kanaan. Apart from the Best Nanny award, the other three categories included the Rising Nanny, the Longest Serving Nanny and the Best Employer award.

Founder of rise, Padmini Gupta said: "Nannies play a key role in our society. They represent one in four women and one in two working women in the UAE. They don't have access to bank accounts and less than 1 per cent of them have a retirement plan in place. We started the awards to recognise them and created the prize of a retirement fund so that more families play a proactive role in empowering their nannies' future. We are looking forward to next year and continuing to grow awareness about the contribution of these amazing women to our society."

Family matters to UAE's best nanny

Thirty-nine year old Rosie couldn't hold back her tears when she was announced the winner of the UAE's Best Nanny award on Friday morning. The Filipina will be completing six years with her employers Agustina Rastelli and Andrew Wojecki in April 2019.

Rosie Villa has worked as a nanny for 17 years, and was selected as the experts' choice because of the way she took care of her employer's family here and her own family back home.

The single mom's effort over the years has helped her provide better education for her daughter, who is now 17, and well-being for her parents and nine other siblings who stay in the Philippines.

A graduate from the Philippines, Rosie started working after her husband left her with her one-year-old child. She moved back to live with her parents and siblings only to realise that she would have to work harder to finance her daughter's education and also to support her parents and siblings. This is when she took up a job in Dubai.

Rosie's daughter is now all set to start her four-year bachelor's degree in accounting.

"My parents are bedridden and it is my sisters who take care of them. They also play the role of mother for my daughter. I am grateful to them," she said.

Rosie earns Dh2,800 and sends Dh1,900 back home for her sisters to take care of the family and pay her daughter's tuition fee.

Thanking her employers and the rise team, she said: "It is my employers' support and trust that has given me this opportunity to secure this. They have stood by me at all times. And I am grateful to the rise team for this gift of a lifetime."

She added: "This money is a big support just at the time I needed it the most. Firstly, my daughter is about to start her college and this will secure her college fee.

Secondly, my employer helped me set up a small grocery store in the Philippines for which I have to repay the loan. And lastly, I will use it to build a house for me and my daughter so that I can spend some quality time with her and give her back all the time I couldn't be with her."

Talking about her life in Dubai, Rosie said: "I feel home here. I work not only because my employers pay me but I work passionately because I love them and I like serving them. I feel lucky to have a family away from home that loves me, cares for me and makes me feel at home."

Apart from winning a one-million peso retirement fund, Rosie Villa also won access to financial and growth services by rise. Rosie said she loves the work here and will continue in Dubai till her health allows.

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