Thursday, September 16, 2010

More and More Asians are coming home and helping others: 3 Tales (here)

By Kevin Stoda, Taiwan

Asian INVASION or Return of the Asian

According to several sources, “The largest group of Asians that have immigrated or work abroad are the Filipinos. Filipinos are actually the most dominant nationality working abroad to date. The Filipino: highly underrated, undermined, and underpublicized nationality that has - over time - become the backbone of the working world. ‘Overseas Filipino Workers’ (OFW) as they have been called, make up for more than 11% of the Filipino population, equating to over 11 million Filipinos who work abroad. OFW’s work in the Western world but also in dangerous places where work is needed such as the Middle East and Africa. Overall there are Filipinos working in over 140 countries (out of 195 in the world). There are over 4 million Filipinos in the US, where most OFW’s reside, but second is Saudi Arabia where there are over 2 million OFW’s. Other countries where many Filipinos work include Malaysia, Canada, UAE, Spain, Japan, Italy, Mexico, Qatar, Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia, Kuwait, South Korea, Germany, India, France, Guam, Greece, Bahrain, Israel, Lebanon, Norway, Macau, Netherlands, and the list goes on. These OFW’s, though stereotypically thought to work as domestic help or blue collar jobs, also work as doctors, nurses, accountants, sailors, IT professionals, engineers, architects, entertainers, technicians, teachers, and military servicemen. 23% of the world’s nurses are Filipinos. 30% of the world’s seamen are Filipinos. Filipinos are now raising the world’s children as nannies, are teaching the future generation as teachers in schools, are importing foods and goods as sailors, and are fighting in the Western worlds’ wars. As the number of OFW’s increase, the Filipino ability to influence the world economy is increasing as well. In 2008 it was recorded that about USD$16billion was sent back to the Philippines from OFW’s. Filipinos are known for their good work ethic, and are especially favoured because they are fluent in English. Today, a world without OFW’s would crumble.”

A few weeks ago, I read this great set of four tales about 4 women who had returned in recent years to the Philippines, i.e. their homeland to make a difference. I re-published the story from SMILE magazine here.

There is a trend across Asia for people to return to their roots and make a difference. I hope that this trend continues and becomes a steamroller in the decades to come.

The is a snapshot of one of the 4 women discussed in the SMILE piece, “Homecoming Heroes”. I follow it up with the stories of others in China and Vietnam who are likewise returning to their roots and making a difference—paying back their homeland or paying it forward to their grandkids.


“Ami Evangelista Swanepoel Ami Evangelista Swanepoel grew up in Manila, and moved to the US when she was 19 to study at Wellesley College. After graduating, she spent two years with Human Rights Watch doing challenging work that further inspired her to pursue her Masters in health and human rights. Ami was working as a consultant in strategic planning for nonprofits, when one morning she received an unexpected email from her mother, Susan. The message tentatively suggested that they found an organization for women and children in Palawan. Ami was excited at the prospect of moving back to the Philippines. ‘I wasn’t feeling fulfilled in New York and wanted a job that matched my work experience and training,’ she says.”

“Now Evangelista is living with her husband and running a non-profit organization focused on improving the health of women and children, and their communities in the city of Puerto Princesa.”The name of this newly founded non-profit is Roots of Health.

See more on Roots of Health here at this link:


This afternoon, I came across this section of THE CHRISTTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR called “Making a Difference”.

the literary theme of these non-fiction pieces are: “Sure, Bono and Richard Branson can change the world. But there are millions of individuals making a difference who are not rich or famous. This section is for that unheralded community – “to honor the decency and courage and selflessness that surround us….”

The first article on the webpage, “Making a Difference”, currently on the CSM is about a Vietnamese master chef, named Jimmy Pham, who is putting street-kids back to work in Hanoi. The author of the article on Pham for CSM explains, “Jimmy Pham (c.) founded KOTO (Know One, Teach One), a nonprofit hospitality training institution forVietnamese street kids. Here he stands with trainees at KOTO’s gourmet restaurant in Hanoi, which is popular with Western tourists.”

Pham, who was once a street kid himself explains, “You deal with [troubled] kids trafficked by their mother, raped by their uncles, tortured by their father.”
Author of the article, entitled “Entrepreneur Jimm Pham went Back to Vietnam to Help Lift others Out of Poverty”explains:

“Revenue from KOTO's restaurant in Hanoi, popular with Western tourists, helps fund intensive two-year training programs at centers in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon), where Pham now lives. Spiffily uniformed youngsters work in three shifts as either gourmet chefs or ‘front of house’ trainees. They receive free housing, meals, and monthly allowances. Recently, though, two of them helped themselves to the tip box – another no-no.”

Here is a You-Tube link on Jimmy Pham and his ideology & work.


Chai Ling, who fled China in fear for her life in 1990, now sees ways that she can help women and children in modern China. Her story is also on the CSM website and starts as follows:

“Chai Ling became the second-most-wanted person in China after the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989. She escaped to Hong Kong, then made her way to the US in 1990. Today she’s a businesswoman as well as a wife and mother of three.” More importantly, Ling has started up “a new humanitarian venture, a nonprofit group called All Girls Allowed ( ), which aims to provide legal aid, counseling, and other assistance to victims of forced abortions and sterilizations in China. She also plans to launch a campaign to change minds in China about the preference for male offspring and build orphanages.
Even though, China is now moving slowly away from its 3+ decades old “one child policy” forced abortions and mistreatment of women and girls are still an issue in Ling’s homeland.

The mission of “All Girls Allowed is to restore life, value, and dignity to girls and mothers, and to reveal the injustice of China's One-Child Policy.”

The mission statement begins: “Since 1978, the implementation of China’s One-Child Policy has led to female gendercide, abandonment of daughters, human trafficking and violations of women’s reproductive rights.

Through education, advocacy, strategic partnerships, and legal defense, All Girls Allowed strives to:

Mobilize the global community to advocate against the cruel methods used to enforce the One-Child Policy;
Educate families against gender-based pregnancy termination by easing the burden of having a baby girl with monthly stipends and a baby shower gift of clothes and food;
Provide legal defense and asylum counseling to mothers who are in danger of forced pregnancy termination or involuntary sterilization;
Support abandoned children, the vast majority of whom are girls, by raising funds for orphanages; and
Reunite trafficked women and children with their families.



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