Around 400 overseas Filipino workers in Hong Kong are expected to finish the financial education and basic entrepreneurship courses in December in a university in Hong Kong. The program is spearheaded by ASKI Global Limited and BPI Foundation Inc.
ASKI Global Limited based in Singapore is one of the strategic business units of Alalay Sa Kaunlaran Inc. (ASKI), a non-government organization with headquarters in Cabanatuan City, Nueva Ecija. Rolando B. Victoria, executive director of ASKI Philippines and chairperson of the ASKI Global Ltd. said the organization recognizes the hard work of many overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).
“After the initial success of our operation in Singapore, we want to reach out to our kababayans (fellow Filipinos) in Hong Kong through the support of BPI Foundation. We recognize the presence of many OFWs in Hong Kong working for many years to provide their families a better life,” Victoria said.
“We are bringing the program to Hong Kong so we can also help the OFWs acquire an entrepreneurial mindset that would lead them to a productive, happy and wealthy family life,” he added.
In Singapore, ASKI Global have already trained more than 2,500 migrant workers since 2010 with about 90% comprising of OFWs and 10% from other countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, India and China. The objective of the program is that through a changed mindset and remittance behavior, ASKI Global can achieve a triple bottom line of asset building, job generation and family reunification. In 2014, there are about 16.7 million pesos portfolio for microfinance institutions in the country. The amount was used as start-up capital for their proposed business plans. Those who opened-up small businesses generated 256 jobs from the family enterprises started by the OFWs.
The program also fast track the reunification of the OFWs to their families. It gives hope that one day they will go back to the Philippines because they already have an established business. This social objective is one of those close to the heart of ASKI Global – seeing some OFWs deciding to go back home for good and manage their own businesses. There are 37 who have already decided to go back home after more than 10 years of working in Singapore.
Meanwhile, Irma L. Cosico, chief executive officer of ASKI Global Limited said that a typical Filipino migrant worker in Singapore shows that many are mothers with children left under the care of family members, or a single woman/single parent who is the sole bread winner of an extended family.
“A migrant worker, while seen as a remittance sender, usually is a low-income individual with obligations of paying for a mortgage which was used to pay for her airfare and for her expenses in the first few months of stay in Singapore, and paying for the daily needs of the family members,” Cosico said.
Majority of these workers do not have any idea as to when they are going back home for good. They do not have savings and are just remitting 100% of their salaries back home, mostly used by families for consumption. Planning and budgeting was not consciously practiced. This is why ASKI Global is giving them, a one-on-one business coaching aimed at helping the OFWs create a business and marketing plans to ensure that the business will prosper and accelerate their profits. They can also be mentored under the business for families, where the OFW will provide financial support to their preferred business. Their families on the other hand will be given assistance by ASKI Philippines through trainings. It is important that they complement one another as to the kind of enterprise they want to set-up.
The financial education and literacy program will guide them on how to handle their finances. Among the topics include, financial planning, forecasting and budgeting; savings and investing; and financial analysis. This initiative is seen to directly benefit the OFWs and their families as they will be trained on business management in preparation for the enterprise that they will establish and operate.
Different churches in Hong Kong like Wesleyan Fellowship, The Loved Flock and Lighthouse International Christian Church also supported the program.