Nannies to be celebrated at annual gala

A report by Alexandra Simon for Caribbean Life.

Several of the city’s domestic workers will be celebrated at an annual gala next week.

The celebratory Dec. 15 gala, created by nanny platform — My Nanny Circle, is honoring some 21 nannies with awards at Grand Prospect Hall. This year, the annual gathering is not only extolling a hardworking group of women, but with a major backing from a leading media company — honorees will be getting special surprises, said its founder.

“This year we formed a partnership with Disney, and they chose to sponsor My Nanny Circle and will present some prize packs to awardees at the ball,” said Alene Mathurin. “It’s going to be a nice, feel good event.”

Many of the women set to be honored hail from the Caribbean, mostly Trinidad and Tobago, St. Lucia, Grenada, Barbados, and Jamaica.

And they all have incredible stories that should be recognized and celebrated, said Mathurin.

“They have stories that are heart wrenching, gripping, or sad, and we are awarding women who are working to bridge the gap in the industry in various ways,” she said.

In the domestic worker field, many often assume the women who work these jobs only do them full-time with no other specialized backgrounds, said Mathurin. But she added that many of them are multi-disciplined and highly educated. She said at the gala one of the awardees will be honored with a special award for her work on a documentary.

“One of our honorees is getting a humanitarian award for a film she did with the United Nations about human trafficking globally,” she said.

She said this was an example of the varying capabilities, passions, and skills nannies tend to have.

“A lot of these women are doing a whole hosts of things,” said Mathurin. “There are those that have small businesses, some are going to school, and changing lives of people everyday.”

And Mathurin credits that to the advent of social media, which have helped the industry’s workers find each other, discuss their rights and pay, and ways to advocate for others.

“Now the focus is on education, and so many nannies today have degrees,” she said. “We are seeing very savvy and goal-oriented nannies making different moves, and this is a new breed of nannies, because the generation before paved the way.”

Mathurin said despite nannies being a formidable group that deserves acknowledgement, the stereotypes often attached to women of color who work the field, prevent people from showing them appreciation. She said the women not only create stable lives for themselves upon immigrating to the states, they are caring for their families back home.

“There’s something really powerful about this community,” said Mathurin. “Domestic workers are helping sustain economies in the Caribbean, because when these women get paid, they are sending money back home and helping the Caribbean and their families.

Mathurin believes that by honoring domestic workers, it sets free some of the stigmas associated with being a nanny, and letting women know their impacts on the lives of the children and families with whom they work.

“These women deserve to be awarded because of the fact they are tied to so many communities and eager to help them,” she said. “The common denominator is the care of the children, and there’s a new generation of kids they are helping influence because these women are in their lives.”

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