24th June 2012, Recital Event at ASKI Global Ltd, Tanglin International Centre.

On this day, Overseas Foreign Workers (OFWs) were made to present their future business plans to our trainers, officers and key personnel from ASKI Global Ltd, Singapore.

The OFWs had attended a full course of Basic Entrepreneurship led by ASKI Global Limited, or Financial Education course funded by Citi Foundation and led by ASKI Global Limited.

My job for the day was rather simple – taking photographs of the candidates, documenting the interview process of each individual candidate, and running around getting my hands on the I.T. aspects of the office. During the interviews, I was amazed by some of the business plans and was in fact touched by some of the stories each OFW shared.

Some of the Business Plans I saw, heard and were amazed by

Disclaimer: the picture above is for illustration purpose only

Each and everyone of the OFWs must presents a business plan to ASKI Global Limited, to showcase their learning from the course they had attended. The business plan that they presented will be their future businesses back in their homeland.

The business plans varied from pig farms to hair salons, pedicure salons to dance studios, meat stalls to cyber cafes and lots of other ventures. Those were the dreams from the OFWs; from the bottom of their hearts which they wanted so badly for the best of their families and themselves.

Some Singaporeans may laugh at their dreams and mock them for possessing such small ones. But let us hold that thought for a moment and put ourselves in their shoes:
In their country’s condition and for the finance capability that they have working as domestic workers in Singapore, do you think it is easy to set up a business with merely $450-$700 SGD per month? Some of us may not even dare to dream because of the financial constraints in this small island, on top of the mockery from our peers and family members.

Some people are able to achieve successful businesses because they dare to DREAM BIG, and dreams do not have the status level associates with our society at all. Just like Mr Nicky Teo from FuneralSolution.

So remember to DREAM BIG, so your dream will only be reach when you have a very strong sense of desire and even the sky will not be your limit.

Some Stories that I heard really touched my heart ❤

The ages of the OFWs that came for the interview range from as young as 22 years old to as old as 65 years old. Most of them have been working in Singapore for between five to thirty five years as domestic workers. Most of them have been working here for so many years yet they lack the means to go back home for long. Does anyone know the reason behind?

The reason for this is actually very simple – they do not have the knowledge of finance, and they did not save up any money at all.
Usually, OFWs would deduct their personal expenses from their pay, and remit the rest back to their families. However, their family members back in their home towns are not aware how much hard work their wives, mothers and sisters have had to endure in order to earn that little bit of money.

Here is one story that I heard:

A 31-year-old Filipino lady has been working in Singapore as a domestic worker for 11 years, since the age of 20. With her monthly earning of SGD$400 per month, she would remit $350 back to the Philippines for her family while she kept the remaining $50 for herself as personal expenses.

Over the years, she kept on with the same routine every month. At times, the family would request for more money as unforeseeable circumstances do occur once in a while. Unfortunately, she do not have any savings at all so she had to request for advance pay from her employer. The situation was so bad that she would end up not having any money for the next few months. Things like this apparently occur almost every month.
Eventually, she realized that she cannot carry on with her life in such a way and had  harboured thoughts of giving up. It was then that she decided to  enrol herself into ASKI Global Limited. The educational courses offered by the company changed her perspective and her spending habits. Today, she can save up to SGD$200 per month and is able to remit sufficient amount to her family. On top of that, if any urgent matters are to happen, she will be able to tap into her savings as emergency funds. As such, her job performance will not be affected.
With sufficient savings and support from ASKI Global Limited, she now has the means to open up a salon and operate her own business. Her dream of returning back home to the Philippines could be coming sooner than she thought.
All of us  in this small island are here to live together, work together, interact with one another, and walk together in this life. All of us have our own stories, of which they are filled with sweat, blood, tears, hardship and pain.
Be considerate to yourself;  be more considerate to others; be much more considerate to people you do not know.

This was how I felt after the entire day was over – dream big, be considerate and lastly RESPECT.

Disclaimer: This blog site does not represent any organization or business, it serves its purpose to motivates and bring light to Overseas Foreign Workers the world over.

Aski Global Ltd is a non-profit organization, striving to educate and train Overseas Foreign Workers’ (OFWs) in Singapore. Hopefully it will pull them out from the poverty cycle and help them achieve their dream futures as soon as they can.

And Aski Global Ltd has a Facebook Page, Please Like it if you would like to show your support to the OFWs around you.