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Stories of OFWs turned-Entrepreneurs

Success stories are inspirational for everyone. It gives hope for everyone struggling that there would always be a rainbow no matter how hard the rain is. For many of the working professionals in our country, it is common to work abroad and to ‘see greener pastures’ as they say and according to data accumulated by the Philippine Statistics Authority, the number if OFWs or Overseas Filipino Workers went up by 1 million from 2013 to 2014.

If we remember correctly, since the start of the Aquino administration, many of our OFWs started to come back home and to try their luck on their own motherland. Some of our so-called ‘modern heroes’ has some pretty amazing success stories that could inspire us into going into business and other ventures. These success stories were shared by the former OFWs themselves and was documented by the National Reintegration Center for OFW (NCRO) under the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and in partnership with the International Organization for Migration (IOM)

One of these success stories is from Ronelyn Achacoso. Ronelyn is a former domestic helper in Dubai. Like many of our OFWs, she experienced many difficulties while leaving abroad. She was not only maltreated but also abused by her former employer. One could only imagine the hardships that she has to go through in order to work for her family back here in the Philippines. Despite all these, she stood tall and strong and managed to get up and move forward with her life. When she finally was able to go back to the Philippines, she studied and looked for local opportunities to earn money.

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“Our country is not a wealthy country, so we need to create wealth through our own efforts. Put up a business which is suited to your skills, knowledge, and capabilities” she said in her interview. True to her words, she went into arts and crafts since she’s actually interested in that field. She maximized all possible opportunities to learn more about her chosen field that was offered by the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA). There she learned flower-making and DIY (do-it-your own) invitation card designs using abaca sheets. She grew her business and was able to put up her own business with ‘Nely’s Handicrafts. Now, she doesn’t only sell her products but she is now also a supplier to department stores in her home city, Davao. As for her message to all former OFWs planning to go back home and venture into business, she has this to say “Don’t be discouraged; it’s just normal for a businessman to experience ups and downs”.

Many of us think that living abroad immediately means that you would immediately experience a more luxurious life than what you are living in the Philippines. In reality, living and working abroad is hard considering you are not only away with the people who mattered to you the most but you are also exposing yourself to abuses just like what Ronelyn experience while working abroad. It is important to note that working abroad as an OFW is only a temporary solution to your problems here in the Philippines and one way or the other, you have to come back home and stay home in order to be with your family. Saving the money that you receive from working is one of the common ways in which these OFWs were able to be successful after being abroad. That being said, if the time comes that you decided to come home, having a plan for your source of income should be your goal in working abroad.

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