RIYADH, Saudi Arabia – Wards at the Bahay Kalinga in Riyadh are using their time to learn new skills while waiting for their repatriation to the Philippines.
A total of 34 wards joined the barista training offered for free by the Data Philippines and the Philippine Overseas Labor Office.
Salma Ajana Muhadjilon of Zamboanga is worried about her relatives back in her hometown in Zamboanga after the three-week bloody siege staged by the Nur Misuari-led Moro National Liberation Front faction in the city. She hopes for things to get better when it's time for her to come home.
"Kasi po gusto kong matuto rin para pag-uwi ko, may kahit na lang konti, may kita ako," said the household service worker.
Another ward, Amalia Alejandro availed of the free training to be able to help her carpenter-husband and their three children.
"Kaya pinasok ko po ito gusto kong matuto gumawa ng products ng kagaya ng capuccino, mochaccino, espresso, at saka latte, yan po," she said.
For Mirasol Alico Cabili, a mother of four, learning the ropes of being a barista will enable her to help her family.
"Sa pamamagitan ng pag-aaral ko ng barista, matulungan ko yung pamilya, mga anak ko at asawa ko," she said.
Several OFWs pitched in by donating the materials that the wards needed for their training.
"Pero ang pagtulong sa kapwa ng taus-puso sa atin ay isang religious activity na yun na personal, personal natin," said donor Rodolfo Gauzon.
Richard Seneres, the officer-in-charge of Bahay Kalinga, thanked organizations and the people who religiously offer help for OFWs in distress.
"Ako po'y nagpapasalamat sa mga organisasyon na walang sawang tumutulong, nagbibigay ng serbisyo, lalo na sa mga Pilipino organization dito sa Riyadh," he said.
Welfare Officer Romeo Pablo said a regular livelihood loan program with a maximum loan limit of P200,000 is available to OFWs.
"Ito na yung sinasabi nating 'Balik Pinay, Balik Hanap Buhay'. So habang hinihintay nila ang pagbalik sa Pilipinas, ay binibigyan namin sila ng mga training gaya ng training natin ngayon, yung ating barista," Pablo said. Report from Chris Lavina, ABS-CBN Middle East News Bureau