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[ soles & stories DXB ] Dina

Soles & Stories saw nine Dubai based nannies/domestic workers shaking their creative bones and transforming some blank TOMS shoes into artworks inspired by their own journeys.

The nine shoe artists shared their personal stories, the joy and the pain of the journeys that brought them to today, and their hopes for where their journeys will take them tomorrow and beyond.

Here is Dina, her story and her soles.


Dina is one of those people that you meet and wonder if perhaps there really is a secret potion you can acquire that helps you to age a lot slower than everyone else. Dina looks about 25 and it’s a small shock when she starts talking about her five children and one grandchild living back home in the Philippines.

Dina has been away from her family and working in Dubai for five years now, and talks softly of the impact her living and working overseas has on her five daughters. She understands what it means to be in her children’s position as her own mother left home twenty two years ago and has been working as a nanny in Italy ever since.

A third generation of the family might soon make the move overseas too, as Dina’s eldest daughter is currently looking at her employment options, and the possibility of leaving her child, Dina’s first grandchild, to work in Dubai.
Dina says that leaving home to work overseas was not a decision her mother or herself made lightly, but it was necessary to provide their families with the best possible future.

Dina is still very involved in her children’s decisions, and keeps up to date with all that is going on at home through frequent Skype calls. She loves the calls home and the conversations, and knows exactly what each of her daughters is up to and what they need from their mother.

The pain of separation is minimized a little as Dina has a sister also living and working in Dubai who she manages to catch up with every so often. Dina is also involved in a church, whose members have become her surrogate Dubai family.


The story behind the soles

The story is all in the colours.
Before starting work for the Watkinson family, Dina spent a long time working for a German family and caring for twin girls. Due to a misunderstanding with the family Dina left their employment and had to say goodbye to the twins, who she had looked after from a very young age. The girl’s favourite colours were purple and red, and they loved anything pretty and sparkley.
Dina’s soles are a memory of the girls, who she has not seen since she left that job.