A Filipino migrant worker who overstayed in the United Arab Emirates illegally for 18 of the 28 years she worked there has finally returned home to the Philippines.

On Sunday, Angela Cacayuran was among the 116 Filipinos who availed themselves of a UAE government amnesty and was allowed to return to the Philippines without having to pay a fine for overstaying, The Filipino Times reported.

Cacayuran said she initially overstayed in the UAE and chose to work in the country illegally to support her children’s education. She said that she refused to return home until her youngest child had finished her studies.

All of her children have now graduated and are working. Her youngest child is currently working in Dubai, and when the UAE amnesty was declared, she felt it was time to take the opportunity to go home without paying hefty fines for having overstayed so long.

One daughter, Editha, said that her mother left to work overseas when she was still a baby. She said she is proud of her mother for the sacrifices she made to provide a better life for their family.

According to the Department of Foreign Affairs, there are about 10,000 Filipinos in Abu Dhabi and 20,000 in Dubai who are eligible to make use of the amnesty. The UAE amnesty program, which allows people staying in the country illegally to fix their status or to be repatriated to their home countries, will end on October 31.