Thursday, July 31, 2008

Who We Are/ Why We are Formed:

Founded in February 2000, and registered with the SEC with a 7- member Board of Trustees led by Nelia Sancho as the President, Buhay Foundation for Women and the Girl Child took its name to mean "life choices" and gave significance to the right of women for self-determination.

The Foundation has 15 founding members, all women. Today, the Foundation membership numbers some 30 women most of whom are supporters and women’s rights advocates of the Filipino “comfort women” victims of Japanese military sexual slavery in WW II and are based in various places of the country such as Metro Manila, Davao City in the south of the Philippines, Roxas City in Capiz province (Western Visayas region) and Baguio City in North of Luzon (the capital city which is home to indigenous peoples of the Cordillera). Five Filipinas who were former staff members of the then regional secretariat of the Asian Women Human Rights Council (AWHRC), an AsiaPacific NGO which was based in Manila from 1990-1995 until its regional office was transferred to Bangalore, India, were among those who served as founding members and incorporators of the Foundation. Three founding members are now based overseas, working on migrant and trafficking in persons issues.

The Foundation members have worked on locally raising the seed fund of the Foundation thru pledges and donations in order to qualify it for registration as a Foundation. For the last eight years, an active core of 10-20 members have worked on a voluntary basis for its first program advocacy – the campaign for legal redress for the Filipina ex-sex slaves – victims of a war crime when they were still young girls, during the period of the second world war and the three year Japanese occupation of the Philippines. The main activities of the Foundation from 2000-2008 were aimed to support the Lolas Kampanyera “comfort women” survivors group and consisted of lobbying work for legislative resolutions on the comfort women issue, providing researchers to undertake interviews and write-up of the victims’ narratives, visits to the victims’ homes and solicitation for medical expenses of survivors who were the most economically hard up. In July 2006, the Foundation has successfully sourced the money to pay for the monthly rental of the Lolas Place which provided reception center services for the aging “comfort women” survivors. The Lolas Place has served as a healing center and a venue where the survivors can bond together and undertake healing as well as empowerment activities. Working together with the AWHRC-Manila secretariat, and later on with the Filipino Lolas survivors themselves, the Foundation has organized the Friends of Lolas, a community network of 25 relatives, friends and community members from around the province of Capiz and the city of Roxas City which extended support to the third batch of 50-60 survivors -the Lolas Kampanyera, based in Capiz province.

From 2003-2007, Buhay started its work on migrant rights issues since the time it received several distress calls from Filipina migrants who are relatives of some of the Foundation members. Some of the cases of individual migrants that have been handled by the Foundation during this period were : violation of contract agreements such as substitution to downgraded jobs with lesser pay (i.e. from nursing to domestic work), severe conditions of work, employer abuse and attempted rape to a Filipina migrant, etc. Work done by the Foundation included liaison with the families of migrants and with the government’s Department of Foreign Affairs –OFW Section to get the Philippine embassies in the respective countries (such as those in the Middle East region and in Malaysia) to assist the exploited migrants. The Foundation also followed a case of a Filipina member of the Buhay Women’s Collective who migrated to Japan thru a trafficking syndicate , and another woman migrant to the Middle East. Both cases of the trafficked Filipinas resulted into suicidal attempts because of severe trauma suffered by the victims.


Thanks, Mae. The date for the co-sponsored public forum is the morning of Sept. 22 (8:30 AM to 12 Noon). The main topic is "The Human Rights Impact of Anti-Trafficking Measures" ( Sharing of the Findings and Recommendations of the 8-Country Research Report on Trafficking and Migration) - A Presentation by Eleanor Taylor Nicholson; The Migrant Woman's Life and Journey- A Powerpoint Presentation by Nelia Sancho.Ikaw na bahala sino ang mag-emcee, invocation, national anthem, welcome remarks and moderator for open forum. I hope we can mobilize 100 participants like students and concerned government employees, academic people, media, etc.Our afternoon on Sept. 22 is the start of the conference workshop which is limited to 20--30 participants.Sept. 23 is a full day workshop which will be a dialogue and consultation with local resource persons and speakers who have exoeriences with their NGOs on trafficking, OFWs and other migrant sectors, etc.Sige, here is the brochure of the Buhay Foundation for Women and the Girl Child. Who We Are/Why We are Formed:Founded in February 2000, and registered with the SEC with a 7- member Board of Trustees led by Nelia Sancho as the President, Buhay Foundation for Women and the Girl Child took its name to mean "life choices" and gave significance to the right of women for self-determination.

The Foundation has 15 founding members, all women. Today, the Foundation membership numbers some 30 women most of whom are supporters and women’s rights advocates of the Filipino “comfort women” victims of Japanese military sexual slavery in WW II and are based in various places of the country such as Metro Manila, Davao City in the south of the Philippines, Roxas City in Capiz province (Western Visayas region) and Baguio City in North of Luzon (the capital city which is home to indigenous peoples of the Cordillera). Five Filipinas who were former staff members of the then regional secretariat of the Asian Women Human Rights Council (AWHRC), an AsiaPacific NGO which was based in Manila from 1990-1995 until its regional office was transferred to Bangalore, India, were among those who served as founding members and incorporators of the Foundation. Three founding members are now based overseas, working on migrant and trafficking in persons issues.


The Foundation members have worked on locally raising the seed fund of the Foundation thru pledges and donations in order to qualify it for registration as a Foundation. For the last eight years, an active core of 10-20 members have worked on a voluntary basis for its first program advocacy – the campaign for legal redress for the Filipina ex-sex slaves – victims of a war crime when they were still young girls, during the period of the second world war and the three year Japanese occupation of the Philippines. The main activities of the Foundation from 2000-2008 were aimed to support the Lolas Kampanyera “comfort women” survivors group and consisted of lobbying work for legislative resolutions on the comfort women issue, providing researchers to undertake interviews and write-up of the victims’ narratives, visits to the victims’ homes and solicitation for medical expenses of survivors who were the most economically hard up. In July 2006, the Foundation has successfully sourced the money to pay for the monthly rental of the Lolas Place which provided reception center services for the aging “comfort women” survivors. The Lolas Place has served as a healing center and a venue where the survivors can bond together and undertake healing as well as empowerment activities. Working together with the AWHRC-Manila secretariat, and later on with the Filipino Lolas survivors themselves, the Foundation has organized the Friends of Lolas, a community network of 25 relatives, friends and community members from around the province of Capiz and the city of Roxas City which extended support to the third batch of 50-60 survivors -the Lolas Kampanyera, based in Capiz province.
From 2003-2007, Buhay started its work on migrant rights issues since the time it received several distress calls from Filipina migrants who are relatives of some of the Foundation members. Some of the cases of individual migrants that have been handled by the Foundation during this period were : violation of contract agreements such as substitution to downgraded jobs with lesser pay (i.e. from nursing to domestic work), severe conditions of work, employer abuse and attempted rape to a Filipina migrant, etc. Work done by the Foundation included liaison with the families of migrants and with the government’s Department of Foreign Affairs –OFW Section to get the Philippine embassies in the respective countries (such as those in the Middle East region and in Malaysia) to assist the exploited migrants. The Foundation
also followed a case of a Filipina member of the Buhay Women’s Collective who migrated to Japan thru a trafficking syndicate , and another woman migrant to the Middle East. Both cases of the trafficked Filipinas resulted into suicidal attempts because of severe trauma suffered by the victims.

As a result of these cases, the Foundation has decided to open up a space at the Lolas Reception Center in Blumentritt Road in Manila City for temporary shelter services for returning distressed migrants who needed some psychological support and reflection space before deciding to return to their families in the provinces. However, the open shelter could not yet be fully operational as the Foundation still needs to undertake sourcing for funds to be able to afford a fulltime paid social worker and parttime psychologist who will work with the retuning migrants.


In the meantime, the Board of Buhay Foundation has decided to embark in the year 2008 in advocacy work for the human rights protection of migrants and trafficked persons. Last November 2007, its program coordinator – Natalie Kaye Ganipis, and Board President – Nelia Sancho, attended the International Congress organized by the Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women (GAATW) in Bangkok, Thailand to study the findings and recommendations of an 8-country report, Collateral Damage which evaluated the impact of anti-trafficking measures on various groups of migrants.

1 comment:

Conrad said...

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