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Ex-OFW gets livelihood assistance from DOLE

Mitchelle L. Palaubsanon (The Freeman) - November 19, 2015 - 9:00am

CEBU, Philippines - The Department of Labor and Employment-7 has extended financial assistance, through its Balik Pinay Balik Hanapbuhay Project, to a Cebuana domestic helper who was abused by her employer in Kuwait.

Mechellene P. Zafra, of Barangay Calajo-an, Minglanilla, Cebu, expressed her gratitude to the DOLE, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, and to the National Reintegration Center for OFWs for extending assistance to her.

“This means so much to me and to my family. Thank you for helping me start anew with my dreams left unfulfilled as an OFW,” said Zafra during the official turnover of the P10,0000 starter kit given to her by the DOLE through NRCO.

Having acquired NC II Certification on care giving from TESDA, Zafra opted to go for a business related to it. DOLE-7 acting director Exequiel R. Sarcauga personally handed the kit to Zafra.

Under the NRCO’s Balik Pinay Balik Hanapbuhay Project, distressed OFWs are given financial livelihood assistance in the form of starter kits which will help facilitate self-employment in the community.

In a statement, NRCO-7 Coordinator Dexter Paro said that under the program, beneficiaries are given opportunities to acquire skills on entrepreneurship by conducting trainings.

Beneficiaries are also given tools, jigs, and equipment which they will use to startup a business. Inputs for production and services as well as knowledge on acquisition and sharing are also given to beneficiaries.

Zafra left for Kuwait in February this year to help augment the income and sustain the needs of the family and tried to cope with the 18 hours of work that her employers required of her to render every day without the benefit of a day-off.

The same statement released by DOLE-7 said that in July of this year, her employer brought her along with them to France for a vacation where the sexual abuse happened. 

According to her sworn statement, she was sexually molested by her male employer while on Vacation in Gex, France.

She managed to run away and even walked for several kilometers until she reached Switzerland where she reported the incident to the Philippine Mission to the United Nations and other International Organizations in Geneva.

On July 27, POLO-Geneva coordinated with POLO-Kuwait. Arrangements were made requesting for the repatriation funds for Zafra.

Three days after, the OWWA coordinated with her agency, the Keys Placement Agency based in Cebu City to shoulder the cost of her repatriation.

She departed from Geneva via London on August 16 where she was given appropriate assistance to ensure smooth connecting flights until she arrived in Manila the following day. She was also afforded with pocket money for her travel.

Apart from the orientation given to her during the exit conference, Zafra was informed of the possible livelihood assistance from the DOLE and its attached agencies which she might want to avail of. (FREEMAN)

BALIK PINAY BALIK HANAPBUHAY PROJECT BARANGAY CALAJO CEBU CITY COORDINATOR DEXTER PARO DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND EMPLOYMENT EXEQUIEL R GIVEN INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS KEYS PLACEMENT AGENCY MECHELLENE P ZAFRA
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