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Bantay OCW

Do children understand why their parents leave?

10:35 PM March 02, 2013

Parents who work overseas assume  that their kids understand fully why they have to leave—that it is for the children’s good and their future.

Many parents leave when their kids are young. The children do not even know where in the world their mothers or fathers are.

Migration is actually not new. The late economist John Kenneth Galbraith wrote, “Migration is the oldest action against poverty.”


Israel’s founding father Jacob brought his family to Egypt  because there was famine in Canaan. After Jacob died, his descendants remained in Egypt for about 200 more years.

Children of OFWs believe their parents are working abroad to give them better food, better education and better home. The eldest child then assumes the role of a parent.

In a story in the February issue of Awake magazine, published by Watchtower Bible and Tract Society in 98 languages, a woman left her three daughters to work in Europe. Her husband followed after four years.

The youngest daughter said her eldest sister acted as their mother, listening to her problems and fears and teaching her household chores.

The whole family has been reunited and is now living in Europe. The article quoted the eldest child as saying, “We did not suffer when we were a poor family—we never went hungry. But my sisters and I suffered when we were left behind. Our family has been reunited for nearly five years now, but the years of separation have left their mark. We know that our parents love us, but we wish they had made a different decision.”

The article issued a reminder that our greatest needs were for things that money could not buy—love, emotional security and family unity. How sad when desire for money takes precedence over love for family, particularly the children.

Many OFW parents think material things can compensate for their absence but, when asked, the children would probably say, “Sana hindi na lang ninyo kami iniwan, sana hindi na lang kayo nag-abroad. (We wish you never left us to work abroad).”

Our children will experience childhood only once. This is the time when they really need the guidance of parents. We should not waste the opportunity.


When you come home, the children you left behind have probably grown up and are too busy to have the time to be with you.

Susan Andes, aka Susan K. is on board at Radyo Inquirer 990 dzIQ AM, Monday-Friday, 11 a.m.-12 noon and 12:30-2 p.m. with audio/video live streaming: Studio: 2/F MRP Bldg., Mola St. corner Pasong Tirad St., Makati City; PTV 4, Friday, 8-9

p.m. and GMA News TV International.

Helpline: 0927-6499870


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TAGS: Children, Family, OCW, OFW, Overseas Filipino workers
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