The contribution of the Overseas Filipino Worker to the nation is beyond heroic. The amount that flows to the economy is staggering, that it dwarfs the combined infusion from many other industries. Collectively, overseas deployment is the single biggest source of compensation income that has kept many children in school, spurred economic activities, and eased the country’s burden. Without the OFWs and their contribution, unimaginable misery will surely descend upon the land.
Many government agencies and other organizations deal with OFWs and their concerns, ready to help ease the inconvenience and loneliness of separation from loved ones, often for long stretches of time. No one plans to stay and toil forever abroad. Everybody works hard and long hours to send money home for children’s education, a decent home, and other comforts. They all plan to go back home, hopefully at a time and under circumstances of their own choosing. To a person, all OFWs long to come home to spend days in comfortable retirement or in another productive endeavor.
In the most productive phase and years before finally coming home, many OFWs are saving for retirement, but still many others are accumulating capital for a future business. These are worthy of praise and support. The government should spare no effort to help returning OFWs transition to entrepreneurship and ensure their success. Soft loans, ease of registration, tax breaks, skills training, and access to technology should be made available to them. Should this new breed of entrepreneurs succeed, they will generate further employment in their own home country and help countless others, who need not go through the ordeal of finding a living in a far-away land.
The OFW can help himself or herself best by acquiring new skills in preparation for the day. Capital may not often be enough. Knowledge of business, management, and finance will be helpful when they come home to put up their businesses. The time to prepare is now. With a commitment to continuous improvement and lifelong learning, the OFW can find time between shifts, or during time off to acquire new skills for reinvention. With advances in technology and learning delivery, anybody can now access valuable resources and learn in the most convenient manner anytime, anywhere. The OFW may be better prepared and adapted to this new learning modality, with access to fast internet connectivity, money to spare for affordable lessons, and the time to devote to learning. Thirty-minutes of learning time a day will be adequate and should not be difficult to squeeze between Facebook or Skype sessions. The seaman surely has time between watches traveling to the next port. At accountingmentor.net, courses in accounting are available that are relevant to entrepreneurs. These courses are engaging and convenient. Once completed, the new knowledge will be a helpful in a business setting.
OFWs should be conscious of this opportunity for self-improvement and start exploring the learning ecosystem in an online environment. It could change their lives forever.