Deportees turn entrepreneurs with help of SEA K
By Jocelyn P. Alvarez
Zamboanga City (16 June) -- It was an agonizing stay in Malaysia where they have to be extra alert from Malaysian authorities to shun arrest. Reason? They were undocumented OFWs.
It was 2007 when Rakib Sajili, Wahid Ibrahim, Nur-ib Gambala and Wilbi Moh. Mur were deported from Malaysia along with hundreds of other undocumented OFWs back to their respective bases in the Philippines.
Who would have thought that these four would someday come together as one and work collectively for the upliftment of their lives.
And so the journey to a prosperous living begins.
It was a meaningful Independence Day celebration for these men. It was June 12, 2009 when they receive their livelihood funding checks during the program commemorating RP's 111th Independence held at the Summit Center of Universidad De Zamboanga with no less than Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita leading the turnover of checks to the beneficiaries.
These four, along with 22 others are the pilot beneficiaries of the "Reintegration program for deportees and undocumented OFWs" under the Self-Employment Asistance Kaunlaran (SEA-K) Program of the DSWD.
They did not know each other back then, neither were they friends but they instantly became fiends with consistent bonding during the training days they had together since the day they applied as beneficiaries to the project.
Each of the 26 beneficiaries received 10,000 as start up capital for their individual livelihood project.
Instead of going into individual livelihood, these four men joined forces and put together their capital for their Welding and barber shop projects.
"Sa ngayon po yung perang natanggap naming ay dahan-dahan naming pinamimili ng mga gamit sa welding at barber shop." said Rakid Sajili, the leader/spokesperson of the group.
"Napakalaking tulong po ito sa aming mga maralita, sa aming mga pamilya. Dahil dito, matutustusan na namin ang pangangailangan ng aming mga pamilya," Sajili said.
Dahil sa programang ito ng Pangulong Gloria, "di na namin nanaisin pang bumalik sa Malaysia dahil sa tingin namin ay mapagkukunana na namin ito ng sapat na income" Sajili stressed.
He said his plans of going back aboard have completely been set aside now that he has enough reason to stay and that is to make these livelihood projects succeed.
"Plano nga namin ng grupo, pag nagkaroon kami ng enough profit from this project, we will put up computer shop," he added.
Sajili proudly said, because of the livelihood projects his group is undertaking, he will now be able to send his wife and two kids back home in Zamboanga.
"Nagkausap na kami ni misis at sabi ko umuwi na sila dito dahil kaya ko na silang tustusan at mas mabuti yung sama-sama kaming pagmamamilya"
Sajili's family is legally staying in Malaysia as of the moment.
"Napaka ganda ng programang ito. Sobra sobra ang tulong na galing sa gobyerno ang ibinibigay sa aming mga deportees," he commented.
"Binigyan kami ng proper trainings. Talagang hinasa kami para sa livelihood projects na ito."
"Sana magtagal pa ang programang ito dahil marami pa tayong kababayan na nakakulong sa Malysia na nangangailangan ng ganitong tulong," he begged.
Ms. Gloria Sisay of DSWD said that Mr. Sajili and his group are accredited welders. "DSWD together with DTI, TESDA, & other concerned agencies provided them with skills training to make sure that they are properly equipped with the needed skills when they start their livelihood."
"Nagpapasalamat ako sa Presidente sa tulong na binibigay nya sa aming maralita at sa mga kawani ng gobyerno na walang sawang nag aasist sa amin," Sajili said.
SEAK under Reintegration Program for Deportees and Undocumented OFWs is a capability building and livelihood assistance program of the government directed towards the livelihood opportunities of the deportees and returning undocumented OFWs.
It involves non-collateral, non-interest bearing capital loans with fund recovery features.
It provides a maximum loanable amount of 10,000 per beneficiary.
To date, total amount released is P251,000 to 26 indiciduals.
Coordinating agencies for the project include: LGU, DOLE, TESDA & other training agencies/schools, DepEd, DOH, CHED thru the Bureau of Alternative Learning System, DOST, DTI, DA and PCSO. (PIA ZC) [top]