Technology has now become the means of empowerment for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) as it gives them the opportunity to build knowledge.
The Microsoft Tulay Program is the brainchild of the Blas F. Ople Policy Center and funded by the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) and Microsoft. It aims to expand knowledge and build a new foundation for OFWs through computer literacy.
Last week, Filipina household service workers graduated from Microsoft's Tulay program in Hong kong.
In less than three months, they learned how to use various computer applications; from surfing the internet, to using social networking sites; blogging and using a webcam to communicate with their families back home.
Ople Center president, Susan Ople described the program as a tool of empowering OFWs.
"Being computer literate opens the doors to learning beyond the ordinary,” Ople said.
Ople was a guest at ANC’s Crossing Borders hosted by Immigration Lawyer, Mike Templo.
“Without the internet, your networking opportunities are limited. But once you get to know how to communicate and build social networks with the internet then you are empowered and that's what we want for our domestic helpers here--to be empowered,” Ople added.
Tulay graduate Gloria Magbuhos said the program is a big help to OFWs like herself.
"Malaki ang tulong ng internet kasi nga dati kapag cellphone ang gamit namin malaki ang expenses di ba? Malaki ng charges. Pero kung internet libre na," said Magbuhos
Another graduate, Rowena Concepcion uses the webcam when communicating with her loved ones back home. The web cam bridged the distance for Concepcion who was able to see and follow the health condition of her child born with cerebral palsy while in Hong Kong. Her child died last year.
More than personal connection, Ople said the program also gives OFWs an edge to be globally competitive as people, not just as workers.
"My advice to them is not to be afraid, but enjoy themselves because cyber information, the digital age is here. There is no way to avoid it. It's either you are part of the cyber mainstream or you are in the dark ages," Ople said.