‘Anak OFW’ summer camp to tackle migrant workers condition

May. 31, 2012

DAVAO CITY, May 21 (PIA) — Some 80 children of migrant workers in the city will be converging in an awareness-raising summer camp on May 26-28 here aiming to discuss the current situation of their parents abroad.

The first Anak OFW (children of Overseas Filipino Workers) Summer Camp 2012 also intends to enhance the children, aged 13 to 25 years old, of their leadership skills and talents through training and other capability-building exercises.

Maybelle Himonda, vice-president of Young People’s Action for Migrants Agency and Nationalism (Yaman), said the summer camp will be a venue to help the participants understand the need for their parents to work abroad.

“So we could also help them to stay away from doing unlawful activities, so they will not rebel against their parents, and so they will not take vices,” Himonda told the media in Friday’s Kapihan sa PIA.

She said they will also learn the basic rights of children and be taught to build trust and confidence during the summer camp.

Yaman is an Anak OFW organization under the umbrella of Mindanao Migrants Center for Empowering Actions (MMCEAI), a rights-based service center for active and returning OFWs and their immediate families and communities.

Yaman, originally a theater youth group, was formed last March 4 comprising 35 members who are residing in Talomo, Davao City.

MMCEAI Executive Director Inorisa Sialana-Elento said participants of the summer camp will come from community-based and school-based formation in Davao City’s 11 communities.  They are children of active and returning migrant workers in the city, Elento said.

She said there are many issues concerning about the plight of migrants workers but the situation of the families and children left behind is not discussed.  “Most of the OFW children don’t understand why their parents have to leave them to work outside the country,” she said, noting that “most of them (OFW children) become Children in Conflict with the Law.”

Elento said that MMCEAI has organized Anak OFW in communities and schools to reach out to them and provide services such as counseling and special sessions for kids.  “Eventually we could provide programs for the children to become productive,” she stated.

During the summer camp, participants will bring their own provisions such as food and other necessary stuff, Elento said, adding that some barangay councils have agreed to shoulder the transportation allowance.  (PIA-11/Carina L. Cayon)

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