OWWA conducts skills training for distressed OFWs in Ilocos Norte

LAOAG CITY, Dec. 11 (PIA) — Just in time for the season of gift-giving, a three-day livelihood and skills training on souvenir gift item- making conducted by the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) was given to 31 distressed overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) coming from the different towns of Ilocos Norte last December 3-5 at the Ilocos Norte provincial capitol auditorium.
The event was organized as part of the “Balik-Pinas, Balik-Hanapbuhay” program of the National Reintegration Center for OFWs (NCRO) under the OWWA. It was also conducted in cooperation with the Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Science and Technology, National Tobacco Administration (NTA), and Ilocos Norte.

“The training is very timely because Christmas is near and gift items are now in-demand.” said Marivic Mondina, supervising administrative officer of the OWWA-Regional Welfare Office I.

All participants were female former OFWs who came back home due to displacement and distress. Some were also victims of human abuse and forced repatriation.

Mondina said OFWs were given priority for training to be equipped with additional skills needed in starting a small-scale business.

“We picked training on souvenir gift items making because it is cheap, easy, and requires short duration of time,” said Mondina.

She also said that most of the materials used in the training are indigenous and was provided by their office.

One of the highlights of the event is the training on gift items making using handmade paper made out processed tobacco stalks.

Experts from NTA, headed by Nelie Castro – supervising research specialist of the NTA, served as facilitators during the training.

Participants were able to make picture frames, container boxes and greeting cards using tobacco papers and cartoons.

After the training, the participants were given starter kits. These starter kits contain tools and raw materials to be used in their businesses.

Mondina said starter kits do not come with financial assistance. However, she said, OFWs especially those who came home from 2008 up to present can avail of a livelihood financial assistance through NCRO in the amount of P10,000.

“They can use the money to start a small gift shop,” Mondina added.

Aside from Ilocos Norte, OWWA through NCRO also conducts livelihood trainings in different provinces in the region. These trainings include beauty care with head dressing, reflexology and wellness therapy and hollow blocks making among others. (ANL/APT-PIA 1 Ilocos Norte)