A recent Time article explored the impact of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW’s) on the Filipino family. This article focused on the increasing number of women who go overseas, leaving children behind:
The government rightly applauds “Overseas Filipino Workers,” or OFWs as they are commonly called in the country, as heroes for the sacrifices they make for their families. But while children whose mothers are nurses in Canada or housekeepers in Hong Kong often go to good private schools and have MP3 players, there is a growing sentiment that trading global dollars for a generation raised on cell-phone minutes is a raw deal. . . .
Children with homes to call their own are also struggling. According to a new UNICEF study, Filipino teenagers with one or both parents abroad, though they do better in school and have more allowance money, said they felt they were worse off — particularly when it came to their future — than peers with both parents living at home. Past studies have also shown that children with mothers abroad report feeling less happy than those with fathers abroad.
I deal with this on a regular basis as a student minister. Some students from OFW families seem happy and well adjusted, but others really struggle.
I don’t have a solution for this dilemma. Families should be together–this is self-evident. But I can’t judge those who make incredible sacrifices to put food on the table.
Maybe I’ll write some of my thoughts on how the church can respond to the OFW phenomenon. Or maybe Erwin will talk about it on the radio show.
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