Saudi woman’s quest for childhood nanny touches heart of a nation


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There are sad stories and or shocking treatment but overwhelming majority of domestic workers in the Kingdom are treated well with respect in this country. Sad stories? Yes! But also many of them returned home with success stories of their own.” – BongA

Saudi freelance journalist Rawan Radwan

Saudi Journalist Rawan Radwan

When Saudi freelance journalist Rawan Radwan set out to locate her childhood nanny, she never imagined that her search would become an international news story, warming hearts around the globe.

Three years ago, the 29-year-old Saudi woman and her sister, Hadeel, discovered a deeply touching personal letter written to their mother by a woman from the Philippines 22 years ago.

“The discovery of that letter sparked my curiosity to find this person,” said Radwan. “She was our nanny, and her full name was Marie ‘Ning’ Bernardo. Many of our happy childhood memories are associated with her.”

With time and distance working against her, Radwan was frustrated time and again in her quest to locate the long lost nanny.

“I wanted to know where life had taken her,” she told Arab News. “She was very caring; it was she who instilled a sense of discipline in us; she was the one who read bedtime stories to us; she was the one who taught us English.” 

The Nanny

The Nanny

The then-youngsters were particularly attached to Marie because of the nature of their parents’ jobs. “My father, the late Mohammed Jamil Radwan, was a diplomat posted in Jakarta; my mother, Fatma M. Zain, was a lecturer in Jeddah. Both had very busy work schedules, and so we were left in our nanny’s care most of the time at that formative, impressionable age, and so everything good that she did for us remained deep within.” 

Radwan said she and her sister may have had 10 nannies after Marie, but “no one could replace her in kindness and goodness, and that is why I wanted to reach her.”  

With time and distance working against her, Radwan was frustrated time and again in her quest to locate the long lost nanny.

“I wanted to know where life had taken her,” she told Arab News. “She was very caring; it was she who instilled a sense of discipline in us; she was the one who read bedtime stories to us; she was the one who taught us English.” click  ArabNews to read more>>>

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