WISE is launched a new series in May 2022 to spotlight women’s sports team in Hong Kong! This series is not about the individual players, but about the team. What makes the team fun? Why do people like to be part of the team? Belonging, inclusion, support … There’s so much we gain from being part of a community. We believe in the power of sharing and learning about and from each other. We hope this series will serve as a little inspiration as we go about building our community in HK. Does your team want to be spotlighted? You can submit your details!
This article is written by Ailenemae. Ailenemae works as a domestic helper in Hong Kong since 2010 and is also an author and writer. She is a mentor and team leader for Uplifters as well as Ambassador for Pathfinders. Recently she wrote a book, Beyond The Sunset, a collection of poems about the stories of migrant domestic workers, and is a co-founder of Migrant Writers of Hong Kong, a group of unique and talented migrant writers.
This article was made possible through the help of Jennifer Alumbro and Christine Joy Lovino, who are team captain and player respectively on SCC DIVAS. Both are also Philippine National Team blue caps players. Ailenemae spoke with them as they were in quarantine in Hong Kong. They had just returned from playing on the Warriors and Sapphires team as the Philippines representative at the Fairbreak Invitational in Dubai from 1 – 15 May 2022. This was an International Cricket Council tournament that invited the best cricketers from around the world to form six different teams to compete against each other.
Speaking to Jennifer and Christine, they exuded excitement as they shared about who the SCC DIVAS are, what they represent, and their plans for the future. Having come back from Fairbreak, both are looking forward to more players from SCC DIVAS participating in higher level tournaments to showcase Filipino ability, skills and talent. In fact, some of the players on SCC DIVAS already form the first Philippine National Team; they played matches against the Indonesia Women’s Cricket team in 2019 in the city of Dasmariñas, Cavite City, Philippines.
Who are the SCC Divas?
The SCC in their team name SCC DIVAS stands for Sub Continent Cricket. The team comprises of Migrant Domestic Workers from different parts of the Philippines who work in Hong Kong to provide for their families back home. During their holidays, they spend their time actively participating in sports which before they had few opportunities to participate in. Each of them is grateful for the sponsors and supporters who provide what they need. The team theme is “First is forever, sama sama tayo!” (First is forever, we are on these together!). They believe ir inspires them to keep going and do what they love to do for themselves and the unity of everyone.
Josie Arimas, who played on the Hong Kong team back in 2015, started the SCC DIVAS in 2017 with cofounder and Team Manager Animesh Kulkarni. He encouraged her to build an all-Filipina cricket team under SCC Lancer (a men’s team). They play in the Domestic League managed by Cricket Hong Kong. For the last 4 years, they played in the Women Development League and won 4 times in a row. They were promoted to play in Division 2 and finished the two seasons as top rank and finally, the team was promoted to play Division 1.
The team started with 35 members and as time passed by, more women from their circle were inspired to be included. To engage more athletes they decided to add one team in 2018 named SCC PINAY. And in the year 2021, another team, SCC ROSY was added. They play in the Women’s Development League.
The teams usually practice every Sunday. The team members are happy and excited every time there are some individuals who join them. For now, they are proud that the members are all full-time domestic helpers.
Empowering others through cricket
Cricket is not well known in the Philippines. What is unique to Jennifer and Christine is that they can do it and they are empowered to grow and promote women’s equality. They want to let the world know that they are part of this community in a foreign country, that they are not just domestic helpers.
We can do more than that and make change possible.~ Jennifer Alumbro and Christine Joy Lovino
No matter what their profession is, they feel that Hong Kong is their second home and playing cricket makes them hopeful their voices can be heard and they will be included in society.
For them, everyone must respect each other. They are not just a team that plays cricket, but a family who is there for each other and supports each other through struggles.
Every team faces trials, and it is up to them to manage how to handle things. In forming SCC DIVAS, they have faced many challenges. For example, they cannot force players to stay. Instead, it is players’ dedication, willingness, commitment, and responsibility as a player that they must hold on to. They always keep in mind the reason why they joined in the first place. That way, they can talk to each other, work on how to resolve miscommunication, continue to grow, think positive and unite for the new season and coming years.
At the end of the day, aside from being Filipino, what bonds them is that regardless of the result of the game, they still celebrate and enjoy each other’s company. Dancing, singing, exchange good vibes, joking and having fun while eating are part of their team rituals which is just as important as the sport of cricket itself.
All photos used in this article were provided by Jennifer Alumbro and Christine Joy Lovino.
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