(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) According to a study carried out by a non-governmental organisation in the Philippines, only 30 per cent of the overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) are able to save and invest while 70 per cent are still going home without savings.
A grim reality that has befallen many who found it difficult to save, due to the change in lifestyle as a result of migration and due to problems back home that suck their money dry.
And according to Philippine Ambassador Grace Relucio-Princesa, many Filipinos in the UAE are languishing in jails for "financial and cultural problems".
It is for these reasons that a financial literacy programme, aimed at helping Filipinos to become financially-able to eventually return and reintegrate, is currently being held in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
The programme is part of the Pinoy WISE (Pinoy Worldwide Initiative on Savings Investment and Entrepreneurship) Movement adopted by Bayanihan UAE, the umbrella of different Filipino organisations in the emirate.
The financial education module was developed by Atikha, a community-based NGO that carried out the study and provides economic and social services to overseas Filipinos and their families in the Philippines.
Among the things attendees will learn at the two-day programme include "make them identify their family goals, save, invest and help them address their family issues... family issues that drain their resources and help guide them out of these issues that prevent them from being successful," explained Estrella 'Mai' Dizon-Anonuevo, Atikha executive director.
Filipinos will be taught how to budget, set goals, borrow and invest. They will also be counselled on how to invest their hard-earned money in rural and agriculture developments in their respective provinces.
Noting the importance of investing in the development of their community of origin, Anonuevo said: "Because if they don't invest in their communities then it will be difficult for them to go back home, because there will always be no job and economic opportunities.
"But it is not only introducing them to investment, we don't want them to just blindly invest in anything. We want them to understand the basics... we empower them with information first," she pointed out.
Atikha, which aims to help address the social cost of migration and tap the development potential of migration, started out 16 years ago addressing problems of children left behind. The NGO works with the rural provinces that have "very high concentration of migrants" including Laguna, Batangas, Cavite, Tarlac, Maguindanao, Masbate and Antique.
Since the financial literacy programme started last year, about 30 Filipino community leaders have been trained who reached out to 650 of their compatriots. The next financial literacy seminar is scheduled in Dubai on November 2 and 9 (9am-5pm) at Al Shahaba Centre. The programme is free but a nominal Dh20 per day is being charged for food.