Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Philippine NGO opens branch in Singapore

NUEVA ECIJA, Philippines - The Alalay Sa Kaunlaran Inc., a non-government organization based in Cabanatuan City here, is now offering its products and services to overseas Filipino workers based in Singapore through ASKI Global Ltd.

Rolando Victoria, executive director of ASKI Philippines and chairman of the ASKI Global Ltd., said the organization recognizes the hard work of many OFWs in Singapore. This is why ASKI Global Ltd. would want to help them acquire an entrepreneurial mindset that would lead them to a productive, happy and wealthy family life.

“Our ultimate goal is to assist Filipinos in Singapore by giving them training courses that could help in their work, personal and strengthening of family values. The organization will also assist them in establishing their own business enterprises in the Philippines to provide additional source of income for their families, Victoria said.

According to the report of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, the total remittance of the OFWs worldwide reached to $18.76 billion last year.

The remittances largely came from Filipinos based in the United States, Saudi Arabia, United Kingdom, Japan, United Arab Emirates, Singapore, Italy, Germany, and Norway.

Benjamin Christian Arcebal, ASKI Global Ltd. training and microfinance officer, said the result of the study they conducted in Singapore revealed that many of the OFWs remains to be poor and their remittances were used by their families to support their daily needs but not in putting on investments.

“Based on our study, some of these Filipinos were already working for 20 years in Singapore but nothing has happened to them and they don’t have enough savings. Many of them want to engage into business but they still need financial support. The entry point of ASKI Global is not really microfinance but more on giving them basic entrepreneurship training,” he said.

One of the programs being offered by ASKI Global Ltd. is the free training and education on entrepreneurship to enhance the potentials of the OFWs and unleash their entrepreneurial spirit.

It includes training on basic entrepreneurship for beginners and customized courses on specific businesses for those who have plans to start a business in the Philippines.

A one-on-one business coaching which ASKI Global also introduced is aimed at helping the OFWs create a business and marketing plans to ensure that the business will prosper and accelerate their profits.

Another program is the business for families, under this program the OFW will provide financial support to their preferred business. Their families on the other hand will be given assistance by the project officers of ASKI Philippines. It is important that they complement one another as to the kind of enterprise they want to set-up.

Meanwhile, 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. Likewise, value formation trainings will be conducted in the Philippines and in Singapore.

“One good thing about the program is we want to fast-track the reunification of the OFWs to their families. We want them to be with their families and give them hope that one day they will go back to the Philippines because they already have an established business,” Arcebal said.

In a statement, ASKI Global Ltd., said the Philippine Embassy is supporting the vision of the organization. In fact, they already incorporated to its post orientation arrival seminar the training and education on entrepreneurship.

Moreover, the National University Singapore - Center for Social Entrepreneurship and Philanthropy is working with ASKI Global Ltd. to include the fourth year business students in the training of OFWs both professional and non-professional.

“Microfinance is not popular in Singapore. The NUS students only read topics on microfinance by the book. This is why when they were exposed to the projects of ASKI to familiarize themselves on the operation of the organization they concluded that microfinance can also be adopted in their country,” Arcebal added.

At present, ASKI is now the social arm of the NUS. Other private institutions as well as government agencies also pledged their support to the programs of the ASKI Global Ltd. Also, the Singaporean employers have started sending their household workers to undergo training with the organization.

With the positive response from the Filipinos in Singapore as well as the employers, Victoria said, he is hoping that ASKI Global Ltd. will serve as a model for OFW programs in other Asian countries. (Contributed by Erwin Embuscado)

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