Capacity Building Program for Migrant Workers

WIMLER HK conducts regular training and workshops on the following fields:

An empowerment program, LSE is a joint initiative of the Ateneo University School of Government (ASoG) with the Overseas Filipinos Society for the Promotion of Economic Security (OFSPES), the Social Enterprises Development Partnerships Inc. (SEDPI) and Ugat Foundation in collaboration with the Philippine Consulate, the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO), the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) in Hong Kong. The course is organized and coordinated in Hong Kong by WIMLER Foundation HK.

The LSE was first conducted in Rome, Italy in 2008 and has since reached out to other overseas Filipinos (OFs) in Naples, Milan, Florence, Turin, Dubai, Amsterdam, Paris, Brussels, and Macau. By December 2014, over 800 would have graduated from the course.

The LSE course covers 12 sessions each, two Sundays per month over a six-month period. Sessions last from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm. The program covers three modules: financial literacy, leadership and social entrepreneurship. The LSE aims to develop the leadership skills and potentials among overseas Filipinos and their families, provide knowledge and skills in savings and investments and other financial matters and develop and/or enhance their entrepreneurial skills.

A certificate is awarded by the ASoG and other partners to trainees who attend all the sessions at a graduation ceremony at the end of the course. Successful LSE course graduates and those who completed the practicum program, who are college graduates, will be granted LSE diplomas. So far, eight graduates qualified to receive their diploma.

The course is open to all Filipino migrant workers in Hong Kong, especially those who are seriously planning for their return and reintegration. Only a limited number of participants can be accommodated.

WIMLER HK conducts fund raising campaign to support the education of underprivileged children in the Philippines.

Lack of education is one of the root causes of poverty in the Philippines. Despite government efforts, there are still thousands of children who cannot avail of elementary education. According to the Philippine Institute of Development Studies, a family living in poverty earns less than 200 pesos (5 US Dollars) per day has been continuously increasing during the past two decades. There are now more than 4 million families living in poverty. Most of these families have young children. About 13.4 million children (age 18 or younger) are poor. Around 5.5 million children are forced to work and out of school. In 2002, the rate of dropout was 8.5 per cent. By 2012, the percentage has increased to 9.2 percent. Many parents could not afford to pay for the auxiliary expenses such as uniforms, school supplies and other things needed by a child to be able to get basic education. And if a child does not acquire education, he or she will never have a chance to get a meaningful and decent job.

In Hong Kong, children must be taught how to speak and write English and Mandarin. Children of Chinese descent lag behind in English, while non-Chinese immigrant children, need to improve their Mandarin. Children usually find it difficult in coping with their subjects. Being a charity registered in Hong Kong, WIMLER decided to support tutorial classes to give the children the much needed support.

Since early 2014, WIMLER Foundation HK supports two tutorial classes for 20 secondary students from low-income families living in the Sham Shui Po, one of the most depressed areas in Hong Kong. WIMLER funded two, 12-week course classes attended by an average of 6-9 students per class, for a total of four classes. Each class meets once a week for an hour. This project is in partnership with Hope of the City Foundation.

Due to the tutorial class, some students have gained more confidence in speaking English. However, there are still challenges with grammar and more work and time is required before the students’ English levels show any significant improvement.

The Gender, Remittances, Loans and Debt Management course shall explore and discuss the basic concept of gender and its surrounding social issues, correlation of gender and poverty and as well as the impact of gender in the financial behavior of people who migrate, either temporary or permanent migrants.

In 2013, Hong Kong is home to around 320,000 foreign domestic workers of which nearly 50% were Filipinos (AI, 2013:5), almost all women. Prior to and during migration, women domestics have to shoulder huge expenses to fund migration project as well as for other family expenses migrants are away from home. The overseas Filipinos in Hong Kong have remitted to the Philippines more than US$ 690 million in 2014 (BSP, 2014). These have greatly contributed and resulted to increased incomes, improved health and better access to education in the families back home. Not to mention the remittances sent by hometown associations, which help build school classrooms, fund scholarships among others.

However, researches show that despite the financial capacity of women migrants to be the breadwinners, there is a growing concern of how remittances (and loans taken in Hong Kong) are channeled to productive purposes and investments that would eventually help them financially secure future reintegration. This course then is set to discuss the following:

  • What is ‘gender’ and why it matters
  • What is the impact of gender on remittances and loans
  • What is debt situation of OFWs in Hong Kong
  • How could gender influence your migration project
  • What ways and strategies can be done to address gender issues on remittances and loans

This is intended for hometown associations which aim to sharpen their vision and mission and clearly identify realistic goals and objectives within their mission and how to achieve them in a defined time frame within the organization’s capacity for implementation. In addition, this workshop trains participants how to communicate those goals and objectives to the organization’s constituents and develop a sense of ownership of the plan. It will further assist them to identify key and measurable indicators whether their plans are executed or not. By working together around agreed objectives and activities, the workshop assists building a cohesive team work.

WIMLER has a pool of professional mentors and coaches who can conduct group mentoring in relation to return and reintegration plans of migrant domestic workers in Hong Kong.

This is intended for Employers of migrant domestic helpers in Hong Kong.