2011 Chairman’s Address: Launch of FEED

Makati, 30 May 2011: Fostering Education & Environment for Development (FEED Inc.) as the natural evolution of FOFI Inc. (Friends of Overseas Filipinos Inc.

Remember what J.K. Rowling (author of Harry Potter) said? “We do not need magic to change the world, we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already: we have the power to imagine better.”

Tri-Party MOU Signing, WED, June 5, 2013We are pleased to announce the transformation of our first Foundation – Friends of Overseas Filipinos Incorporated (FOFI, established in 2001) into “Fostering Education & Environment for Development”, established this May 2011.

FOFI’s mission was to support the networking and consolidation of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) communities around the world, to foster their unity and connections to the Philippines. The term “OFW” applies to Filipinos who are both abroad indefinitely as citizens or permanent residents of a different country, and to those Filipino citizens abroad for a limited, definite period, such as on a work contract or a student. It can also include seamen and others who work outside the Philippines but are not residents, either permanent or temporary, of another country.

They are known by a variety of terms with slightly different and sometimes overlapping meanings. Overseas Filipino Workers or OFW are Filipinos working abroad that are expected to return permanently either upon the expiration of a work contract or upon retirement. Balikbayans are Filipinos who have become citizens of another country and have returned to the Philippines for a temporary though extended visit. Global Filipino is a term of more recent vintage that less widely used.

“Employment conditions abroad are relevant to the individual worker and their families as well as for the sending country and its economic growth and well being. Poor working conditions for Filipino people hired abroad include long hours, low wages and few chances to visit family. Women often face disadvantages in their employment conditions as they tend to work in the elder/child care and domestic. These occupations are considered low skilled and require little education and training, thereby regularly facing poor working conditions. Women facing just working conditions are more likely to provide their children with adequate nutrition, better education and sufficient health. There is a strong correlation between women’s rights and the overall well being of children. It is therefore a central question to promote women’s rights in order to promote children’s capabilities.”

However, OFWs are referred to also as our national heroes, for uplifting the spirit and conditions of their families livelihoods through  financial support, contributing billions of dollars in remittances every year.

To date, OFW communities worldwide continue to join through the benefits of internet access and connectivity, forming businesses and other communities that have strengthened their voice and say within their home town provinces and even the government. In 2003 for example, the Dual Citizenship and Absentee Voting Republic Acts were passed into law in the Philippines, thanks to the consolidating lobbying efforts of OFW communities worldwide.

FOFI spent the most part of 2010 reviewing its vision and mission, and geared it towards Education & Environment where the Philippines still requires private sector financing to improve access to quality education and environmental preservation – resulting in the revision of FOFI’s By-Laws and the renaming of the organisation as FEED or Fostering Education & Environment for Development, Inc.  

© Copyright. FEED, Inc. 2012-2013.