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Heroes in a Foreign Land: The Challenges Faced by Overseas Filipino Workers

The Filipino diaspora is one of the largest in the world, with an estimated 10 million Filipinos having ventured abroad in search of potential job opportunities. Filipino Overseas Workers (OFWs) have been labeled the “Battle for Dignity”, highlighting the difficult and sometimes dangerous journey they take in pursuit for a better life. OFWs are defined as Filipinos either residing or working abroad. Despite the common goal of achieving a higher quality of life, OFWs face numerous social, economic, and political struggles as they seek to cultivate a new home. In this blog post, I aim to explore the various hardships faced by OFWs and how we can continue to provide support and assistance.

 

For many OFWs, the most challenging aspect of their job is the separation from family. OFWs are often forced to leave their homes and loved ones behind to support their families from afar. This can lead to feelings of loneliness, isolation, and depression as they struggle to cope with the distance. This family separation most times led to broken homes as the children are raised by either one parent or a relative(s). Often, the children are the ones that suffer most because of absence of warmth of a mother. Furthermore, language barriers due to the varying cultures and customs can be difficult to overcome as well. Many OFWs are not fluent in the language of their destination country, making it hard to connect with their employers or excel in their jobs or work their way up in any organizations. This language barrier can also lead to decreased access to health and mental health services.

 

Another issue for OFWs is the lack of a solid support system. Filipinos are known for their tight-knit families, so being separated from them can be incredibly difficult. Not only do OFWs struggle with the physical disconnect from family members, but they struggle to build and establish new friendships in their host country. Moreover, they also lack access to mental and emotional support they need. Financial strain due to the cost of living abroad can lead to additional stress, creating an even bigger strain on personal relationships.

 

Finding work abroad can be a difficult, expensive and unstable endeavour. Many times, there is a lack of job security, and lack of knowledge of employment law, leaving OFWs vulnerable to exploitation and abuse at the hands of their employers. Low wages and unsustainable working conditions can also be a problem. With limited job opportunities, many OFWs are forced to take on jobs they are not qualified or sufficiently trained for, or to accept lower pay than they deserve. This can result in an inability to save money, putting their financial security in jeopardy.

In addition, professional development opportunities can be limited, especially for OFWs who work in menial and low-skill jobs. Without access to education and training opportunities, these workers are unable to develop the skills needed to advance their careers or pursue new job prospects. This can lead to a lack of job mobility and even greater financial strains.

 

The journey of an OFW is one of equal parts courage, resilience, and sacrifice. It is an immense struggle to balance the desire for a better life and the longing to be close to family. The struggles faced by OFWs are a testament to the strength of the human spirit and the lengths people will go to provide a better life for themselves and their children.

 

Overseas Filipino Workers are one of the strongest and most resilient populations in the world. Despite facing numerous challenges, OFWs push on in their journey for a better life for themselves and their families. It is our responsibility to provide them with the necessary support and assistance so that they can continue to pursue their dreams and create a better future for themselves. At thefilipinohero.com, we are dedicated to celebrating OFWs for their courage and sacrifice. Through discounts and perks, we are honouring their efforts as we support them on their journey.