Philippines – National Council of YMCAs
Date of foundation of the YMCA: 1898
We, the Young Men’s Christian Associations in the Philippines of a Christ-centered national movement, member of the world-wide YMCA fellowship and voluntary organization of men and women, are committed to establish a just social order and humane society, and to promote unity, mutual respect and understanding among people regardless of age, sex, race, color, creed, belief and social status based on the teaching of Jesus Christ towards the realization of His Kingdom on nearth.
Empowerment of the people has become imperative to sustain the development efforts in our country. Development becomes meaningless in our context if our people do not have the capacity to sustain it. Building people’s organizations has proved to be effective in this process. People’s organization is basically an association which is self-governed and self-sustained by the people at the grass-root level. Decisions are taken by participatory method by the members involved in this process. The PVDO (Private Voluntary Development Organization) plays a facilitative and supportive role in this process. The YMCA movement in Bangladesh re-affirms to work for the extension of the Kingdom of God in order to restore the distorted image of humanity through building People’s Organizations.
This was affirmed at the 14th General Assembly of the Asia Alliance of the YMCAs held in 1995 and the re-entry plan was elaborately worked out at the Sub-regional Conference on Empowerment of the People held in Dhaka in 1996.
The National Movement of YMCAs in Bangladesh has been involved in this process for the empowerment of the people since 1989. In this process Community Organizing Program was initiated as a peoples empowerment process in the economic and socio-political areas. The local YMCAs situated in different parts of the country were involved in this process. The thrust of the Community Organizing Program is to empower its beneficiaries in three major areas. The Economical Empowerment, Social Empowerment and Political Empowerment. We believe empowering the people in these three areas will bring a positive change in their lives.
Address – National Office
YMCA of the Philippines
NGS, Pablito A. Tabucol
350 A. Villegas St/POB 1992
From the Field
The Philippines is one of the most organised senders of labour migrants in Asia. Almost 10% of Filipinos (about 8.5 million) work abroad. This large-scale migration is triggered by widespread poverty in the country. People choose to leave and work far from their families in order to send the kids to school, buy their own house or save up for a small business that could hopefully generate enough for them not to have to leave the country and their families again.
Working in foreign countries poses serious difficulties for Filipino workers, not least the language barrier. Also, adjusting to an entirely different culture and lifestyle can come as a total shock, particularly to those who come from the provinces with no experience of living in the city. Ignorance renders the workers vulnerable, and as such, violation of human rights has become a terrible reality for Filipino overseas workers, including violence, sexual abuse, and unpaid working hours.
As a result of the many cases of human rights violations and the continuous upsurge in labour migration, the YMCA of the Philippines has come forward to address the concerns of migrant workers with the practice of global citizenship.
Given the risks Filipinos may face when working abroad, it is important that a potential overseas worker should make an informed decision. The Pre-Employment Orientation Seminar (PEOS) does just that. The PEOS is an education session for people who are contemplating working abroad, where potential migrants are encouraged to assess their priorities and also their technical, physical, and emotional readiness for working abroad.
The PEOS has been extended to include the children and relatives of migrant workers, since it is also they who suffer from the consequences and social costs of migration.
The YMCA of the Philippines also believes it is important to communicate with high school students through the PEOS because they are already attracted by overseas employment. The PEOS provides education together with career guidance, and can put overseas employment in proper perspective for the students.
When the workers are finally ready to leave, the YMCA of the Philippines provides them with Pre-Departure Orientation Seminars, especially for those going to the Middle East.
Since migration involves both the sending and the receiving countries, communication and integration of efforts are necessary if the migrant workers are to have decent working conditions. The YMCA’s Exchange Programme addresses this need.
The YMCA of the Philippines has run successful exchanges with the YMCAs of Bangladesh, Hong Kong, Japan, Sri Lanka and Tainan (Taiwan). For example, the Philippines YMCA sent a volunteer staff to Tainan to work with about 400 Filipino workers there. The programme organised counselling sessions, recreational, cultural and language programmes, and dialogue with workers.
In February 2007, countries in East Asia, including the Philippines, hosted a networking workshop to develop their work with migrants. Common issues were identified together with how YMCAs can respond to such issues.
The Philippines YMCA has also drawn up a Memorandum of Understanding with the YMCA of Korea in a Philippines-Korea Leaders Bilateral Roundtable Meeting held from 31st March – 3rd April 2007. A priority common agenda was identified that includes global citizenship, movement strengthening and the empowerment of youth and women’s leadership.
Eloisa D. Borreo, National General Secretary, YMCA of the Philippines
Extract from YMCA World Magazine on : Global Citizenship, June 2007