DAVAO CITY- The absence of OFW mothers from their families often leaves their children wanting for attention and may give rise to emotional problems, according to a local migrant organization.
“OFW mothers compensate for their absence by showering their children with material gifts but this not sufficient to address their emotional concerns.” Said social worker Kimberly Sia of Mindanao Migrants Center for Empowering Actions, Inc. (MMCEAI).
According to Sia, MMCEAI’s work among the urban poor OFW communities in Davao City Has revealed that OFW children lack life skills to deal with their circumstances in the absence of nurturing figure.
MMCEAI Executive Director Inorisa Elento called this a “double burden” for the OFW mother.
“In our communities, the profile of the typical OFW mother is that she is often unskilled with a large family of dependents. Left with no other local options for employment, she finds work overseas as a domestic worker, and leaves her family behind, in the care of surrogate who, more often than not, is not sufficiently capable to take over the role of the parent.” Elento said.
“Because of this, family cohesion is affected, with children becoming depressed or even angry at the remaining family members or at society, in general.”, she added.
To address this issue, MMCEAI has been conducting an annual summer workshop targeting children of OFW’s in the urban poor communities.
“The Anak OFW Summer Camp is annual event for MMCEAI to address the needs of our parents OFW communities. It is a venue for social and physical interaction for OFW children, an opportunity for them to learn leadership and interpersonal skills, in an atmosphere of fun and play.”, said Elento.
Sia said that the three-day summer camp will have an assortment of activities form art workshop to group therapy, all designed to build their trust and confidence “Part of objectives of the summer camp is to build their awareness on the issue of migration, particularly on its impact on their situation, and learn ways of overcoming their circumstances so that they become productive citizens. “Sia Said.
Graduates of previous summer camps have gone on to become peer facilitators in succeeding ANAK OFW camp activities.
“They pay it forward by becoming camp facilitators during the next conduct of summer camp. Some of them have become youth leaders in communities, speaking about the issue of migration and helping other children of OFWs became well-adjusted.” , said Sia.
The 2015 Anak OFW Summer Camp will be held this may 27-29, 2015 at the Hope Mountain Transformation Center, Ulas Davao City.