Sunday, June 22, 2014

Reintegration programs for Filipino runaway housemaids

Reintegration programs for Filipino runaway housemaids

By Ben Garcia

KUWAIT: Various programs to train Filipino runaway housemaids and distressed workers at the Philippines Embassy in Faiha have been introduced. Besides a hair and nail polishing workshop, another program recently introduced is pastry and bread making. These continuing programs are benefiting hundreds of Filipina runaways at the embassy.
A recent bread and pastry making program was spearheaded by Fely Torio and Tin Tin Gomez, members of a now very active Filipino Mothers Organization (KFMO) under a reintegration program by the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA). The reintegration program has been intensified to help the OFWs when they return home and start afresh. There are about 100 runaway housemaids at the embassy with varying cases, and while waiting for their repatriation, various livelihood programs are being conducted at the embassy premises.
Norlita Lugtu, the shelter welfare officer, said basic training at the embassy is necessary to help distressed workers start new lives when they are back in Manila. “Baking and pastry making is one of many programs we are introducing as continuing programs for our OFWs to help them in many ways. If they decide to stay at home, they can start small businesses from what they have learned here,” Lugtu said. “Our agency is ready to lend small scale loans through our ‘Balik Pinay Balik Hanap Buhay’ program, apart from a loan we can provide if they have much bigger but feasible projects – they can borrow up to 2 million pesos. They only have to present a project or business proposal. If they want to go out again, they can use the skills they learned from our reintegration program and apply for a new job suitable to their skills. They can now get a new job in baking or pastry making if they get the certificate from the reintegration program,” she added.
The KFMO is being headed by Violeta Malana Yousef, a fulltime mother but very active Filipino community leader. “The program is just one of our many efforts by our group to help our compatriots,” she stated. “We are always on the move and giving our assistance to Filipinos whatever we can, like visiting hospitals and giving financial support to patients. One of our officers Farida Al- Halimi is very active in holding workshops for Filipinas at the embassy,” she pointed out. “She was the first to share her skills in hairdressing and makeup. Recently, we had Fely Torio and Tin Tin Gomez who started the bread baking and pastry workshop. We want to help and do what we can to support our distressed OFWs.
So we cooperated with the Philippine Embassy to showcase our talents, skills and share it with our people,” she added. OWWA and POLO have set aside about 2 billion pesos for the reintegration program.

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