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Philippine diocese helps children of overseas workers

Antipolo Diocese to launch online tutorials for students struggling to cope with their parents' absence

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Philippine diocese helps children of overseas workers

Antipolo Diocese is launching online tutorials to help children of migrant workers. (Photo: Unsplash)

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Antipolo Diocese in the Philippines’ Rizal province is to launch an online tutorial program in partnership with the country’s Department of Education to help the children of Filipino migrant workers studying in government schools.

The diocese’s Commission on Migrants and Itinerant People said the project titled “Turo Mo, Kaalaman Ko” (Your lessons, my knowledge) will kick off on Oct. 5 and last until the next school year in 2021.

“Turo Mo, Kaalaman Ko is a joint project of the Catholic Church and public school teachers … with the aim to help migrant workers’ children cope with the new normal,” the diocese said in a statement, referring to social restrictions imposed because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The diocese said the project was originally scheduled to begin in September but was reset to October due to a change to the academic calendar by the Education Department.

“An agreement was signed between the diocese through the Commission on Migrants and Itinerant People and the City Schools Division Office of the Department of Education. Our aim is to help migrant workers’ children not only in their education but also in their longing to be with their parents,” said Father Jose Bautista.

He cited a study that said that children saw migration as a “form of abandonment” by their parents while those in their teens could either be receptive or resentful of their parents' absence.

“Children of our overseas workers are in a very difficult situation because they are not only facing difficulty in adjusting to the new normal. They also feel alone, thus making learning even more challenging,” Father Buatista told UCA News.

Former overseas worker Terry Del Rosario said her children had varied reactions to the effects of her decision to work abroad.

“They did badly in school. My eldest was even mad at me at first because she felt I did not love them. It took some time before they realized that what I did was because of love. Everything was for their future,” Del Rosario told UCA News.

Amelia Coronel, the project director, said 70 volunteers, mostly churchgoers in Antipolo Diocese, had committed to helping with the online tutorials.

“Some of our volunteers are mothers. Some are former overseas workers,” she told UCA News.

The program’s goal is not only to teach children their school lessons but also to provide spiritual formation, Coronel said.

Church authorities have backed Antipolo Diocese and the Education Department for their efforts.

Bishop Joel Baylon of Legaspi said similar efforts that help in the academic and spiritual formation of the young must be supported by church and lay groups.

“I pray that this online tutorial is just the beginning of many others that will help young people in school during this pandemic. May the Lord touch the hearts of people to donate to or volunteer for this tutorial project,” he said.

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