by: Saturnina “Cute” De Los santos Rotelo (photo below: first row, third from left)
All migrants haves a goal, a dream, or a plan before they leave their loved ones and their beloved country. It’s hard, it’s painful, tears flow from their eyes. They make promises in lieu of their presence, especially to their children. I have been away from home 21 years- almost half of my life I’ve been working in Singapore.
I continue to work for I have a mission. My promise to my beloved father has already been fulfilled, yet I still doubt about going home. I have devoted my time to HOME for 8 years now, and finally the answer has come to me. Filipinos are very family-oriented; closeness and kindness are always there. Love and respect, pride and beliefs are what often pushes Filipinas to migrate and sacrifice their life, love and loneliness, which money can’t replace.
The I.L.O. (International Labor Organization), in partnership with Atikha (a Pilipino organization providing economic and social services to overseas Filipinos and their families in the Philippines) did research to find out why many migrants return to their county a failure and not with innovation. I attended a thorough training by Athika on how to help the migrants, by helping them understand financial matters, and teach them how go back to their home country successfully.
Devoting my Sundays off to training and educating other migrants makes me happy. My parents sent me to a private university, but I still ended up here in Singapore as a Domestic Worker. I have no regrets, but I did miss out on a lot of things in my life. I have learned a lot myself interacting with my students. Now the 3rd batch of students is almost done, memories linger on how very thankful he students are for receiving this course in Financial Literacy. Their testimonies, written or oral, make me cry as they always say that I changed their lives and have made them realize how important it is to understand how to spend your money between the needs and wants, and that savings are important in preparing for all the hazards of life. As the course continued they realized also that by keeping track of their expenses, they can understand why they have lots of debts. Many families of migrants depend on them fully, all money made abroad is sent back, and the migrants go home for good without any money. In our Financial Education course you learn that you have to to help educate your family, and set an honest example how to manage your hard to earned money.
Every migrant has a goal, or shall I say a dream, to achieve. By planning finances carefully, together with your family, and using SMART ways, everything is achievable. Many migrants end up with a broken family because of the prolonged separation, so we are trying to slowly stop this practice. So I’m hoping that through this course migrants, especially women, will realize that leaving the country and living away from their husband and children is not the answer for all their dreams. Our journey continues, and I hope that I.L.O. will discover more to protect the worlds migrants, especially women.