Anna is a registered occupational therapist in the Philippines and Australia. She has a Bachelor of Science in Occupational Therapy and Master of Rehabilitation Sciences, both from the University of the Philippines. In her more than 20 year career, she has worked in a wide range of pediatric settings. Anna’s clinical interests include helping children meet school and classroom demands, especially handwriting, as well as working with children who are blind or have low vision. She also invests time training local therapists and educators, believing that the knowledge and skills she imparts will benefit many children in China. Anna speaks English, Filipino, Fookien, and Mandarin.
How long have you been in China?
My husband, two children, and I moved to China in July 2014. Prior to that, we were here a few times doing volunteer work, such as in the earthquake-hit Sichuan province.
Why did you choose to work at LIH Olivia’s Place?
When we visited Shanghai in 2012, we contacted Olivia’s Place and were impressed with the vision of not only providing quality care, but to extend the same quality of services to local kids. It is exciting to be part of a team that is even now changing the landscape of therapy services in China.
Why did you choose your field?
My brother told me occupational therapy is matching people to their jobs! I blindly applied for it and almost changed my course midway through, but then fell in love with the profession once we started seeing clients in the hospitals. I always wanted to work with people and being an OT has been so fulfilling. I enjoy being with the kids, and the chance to impact the lives of families is so rewarding.
What are some of the most rewarding experiences you have had in your chosen profession?
In China, it has been the opportunity to work with welfare centers, particularly in one province where an institution serves 900 kids. I would like to work with orphans more, and it is nice to know my job in LIH Olivia’s Place will allow me these opportunities.
What’s your favorite thing about living in China or working at LIH Olivia’s Place?
Being immersed in the Chinese culture, especially for my children. I like that living here affords our family to be up close and personal to the Chinese way of life – because growing up Chinese in the Philippines gave us a different type of culture, compared to the “real stuff” here in China (Anna’s ancestors left Fujian to go to the Philippines five generations ago). Being in Shanghai also allows us to know people from many different nationalities, the same thing I like about working at LIH Olivia’s Place. People are always so interesting to talk to because there’s so much to learn from them!
What would you like to be doing in 5 years’ time?
At that point our children will be nearing university age, so I would like to see my husband and myself working in other parts of China, hopefully working mostly with orphans. I can definitely see myself working as an OT till I am old and gray!