Villar SIPAG, BeamAndGo, CBCP Fired Up on Empowering Anak OFWs

Villar SIPAG (Social Institute for Poverty Alleviation and Governance) in partnership with BeamAndGo and the Episcopal Commission for the pastoral care of Migrants and Itinerant People (ECMI) of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, has launched its new project entitled “Learn and Go: My Ticket to an Empowered Life.” The project is a seminar-workshop that addresses the needs and challenges faced by the children of OFWs. Villar SIPAG, which is known to be very dynamic in providing assistance to distressed OFWs, has extended its programs to the families left behind especially the children who are most affected by separations in the family.

A group photo of the Anak OFW with Sen. Cynthia Villar, Fr. Resty Ogsimer, Mr. Albert Christian Go and facilitators.

Sen. Cynthia A. Villar explained the irony of the OFW situation wherein a person leaves the country to be able to provide the finances of the family but such move tears them apart due to the distance between members. “The main problem is that the OFWs leave their children and the family has a hard time coping. It’s so ironic that they earn money for their children yet their families can end up broken. May pera pero wala yung guidance ng magulang.”

Sen. Cynthia Villar delivered an inspirational message to the Anak OFW, encouraged them to become good children because it will make their OFW parents happy and satisfied with their sacrifices and hard work abroad.

Realizing the complexity and immensity of the problem, Villar SIPAG has chosen to work with partners like BeamAndGo and CBCP with the belief that such partnerships are necessary since these partners have their own lines of expertise. Villar SIPAG is fortunate enough to meet companies and organizations that possess the same advocacies for the welfare and progress of OFWs and their families. “The foundation does not know everything and that’s why we’re happy with this partnership with BeamAndGo and CBCP. This is a worthy effort so that all the hard work of the OFWs will amount to something because their children were given a good life,” Senator Villar concluded.

Anak OFW participants coming from the Dioceses of Manila, Makati, Mandaluyong, Novaliches, Caloocan and Antipolo.

Fr. Resty Ogsimer, CS, of CBCP-ECMI, agreed on the high probability that the Anak OFWs can be led astray when a parent is not around. The situation becomes even worse when both parents work away from home and there is nobody else left to take care of the children except the aging grandparents who may not have the strength and patience to discipline a new batch of young people. Subsequently, Fr. Ogsimer emphasized the fact that the OFW sector is now considered vulnerable, thus needs guidance and assistance from the other sectors of the Christian community.

Fr. Resty Ogsimer, gave a glimpse at the situation of Filipino families with members working overseas, the challenges of separation and the vulnerability of the OFW sector.

The seminar laid discussions on the different issues concerning the Anak OFWs. Ms. Vanessa Cartera, whose father was an OFW, touched and shared on the Perks and Challenges of Being an Anak OFW. Mr. Albert Christian Go, former OFW and presently SVP of BeamAndGo, gave practical tips on saving, budgeting and wise spending. Agent Francis Senora of the NBI, presented the prevalence of cyber crime in the Philippines and gave tips on how the youth can be protected. Dr. Raymond Joseph Escalona talked about health and wellness, proving that Anak OFWs can take care of themselves in terms of proper nutrition even without their parents. Lastly, Ms. Marianne Madelaine Mencias, author of “What’s Your Life’s Masterpiece,” has inspired and motivated the children to continue to reach for their dreams and ambitions and lead an empowered life not only for their selves but also for their hardworking parents who sacrifice abroad for their bright future.

Learn & Go will be a series of seminar-workshops for the Anak OFWs that is intended to be implemented in every community of the country because there is no town in the Philippines that OFWs don’t exist. The program aims to equip the Anak OFW with a good sense of individuality, independence and maturity so that they may lead an empowered life and so that they can influence kids like them to live the same way. At the end of the activity, children shall be inspired to become better individuals, to give importance to the hard work of their parents and to fulfil their aspirations despite the challenges of being an Anak OFW.

Mr. Jonathan Chua, President of BeamAndGo, puts it, “What we’re trying to do in this event is we want to impart the skills and tools to the youth to understand how hard their parents abroad are working and it’s important to be wise with money. The hard work, the ability to overcome obstacles, their sacrifice and love for their families – those are the basic values, the basic ingredients to make a better person, a better family and a better society.”

The empowered looks of Anak OFW after the successful and fruitful seminar.