The Province of Medan is going ahead with their planning of pastoral care for migrants. A short report by Br. Guido Situmorang highlights the steps taken:
1. JPIC Commission of Medan Province has discussed the issue on migrants twice (May 4 and 20, 2010), soon after our seminar in Bangkok.
2. During my stay in Malaysia (August 11-23, 2010) I talked to the Commission for Migrants of Johor-Malaka Diocese about migrants, including from Indonesia.
3. Our Provincial Minister assigned one team of three friars to go to Batam, to do some research about new apostolate (Agust 18-24, 2010). One main finding of the team is apostolate for/ among migrants.
4. We have done some approaches to some other private Institutions such as Jesuits Refugee Service (JRS), Institution which recruites and sends migrant workers to Indonesia.
5. Conclusion at the moment is:
5.1. Capuchins at the Province of Medan go along with the whole Order to get involved in the issue of migrants (migrant workers in Indonesia and abroad).
5.2. November 29, 2010 the JPIC Commission will approve the action plan on this issue which will be integrated in the whole program of 2011.
5.3. Some probabilities which have been searched so far: collaboration with the Indonesian Government and Private Institutions which deal with migrants, in which JPIC Commission participate at preparatory stages before workers go to other countries; or the Capuchins erect its own private Institution which covers also sending migrant workers to other countries in collaboration with legal institutions in Malaysia (Capuchins or Church), or sending to Batam (for those who originally come from North Sumatra)
Sialkot Pakistan: Justice, Peace Ecology, committee organized a seminar for the families whose children or relatives are working abroad. It was held at St. Joseph’s parish Sialkot. The motive behind this seminar was to discuss the success and failures of those whose family members have gone abroad to work and at present it has become a trend. If we reflect on the difficulties and the problems of the migrants, we will discover that their problems are multiplying day by day and sometimes we don’t find any solutions to them. They are facing a number of problems abroad while their families are enjoying at home. They don’t think about their difficulties but keep on asking for gifts, clothes and money. To fulfil their wishes and desires they often fall victims to mental and physical disorders or depressions.
Expressing his views on the occasion Fr. Francis Nadeem OFM, Cap mentioned that after reflecting on the problems and challenges of the migrants the International Capuchin Community has formed a Six-member commission, whose work will be to provide legal, social, moral and spiritual aid to those who are working in the foreign lands. The commission is supposed to discuss and evaluate their residential problems in particular because there is a huge part of a capuchin property left in vain and which can be used for the migrants and especially Pakistanis on a temporary basis. In the meeting of the year 2011 commission will present a report that if in Asia i.e. Middle-East, India and Bangladesh, if anyone is found facing above mentioned problems then the Catholic Church is open to solve such problems. While adding to his speech Fr. Francis Nadeem put forward a question i.e. What is a role of wife and children of the migrants? What are their expectations from those who are working abroad? He further said that it is the responsibility of the parents, children and the relatives to be in touch with them or foster their communication with them so that they may know their problems and difficulties of working abroad. There are some countries where people are getting less wages and they have to work privately. Due to poverty people from Philippines, Siri Lanka and Bangladesh work even on low wages. Whereas a Pakistani man or woman find it difficult to over work on less wages. Because of the price hike in the country a man cannot run his family with low wages. While living in the foreign country he has to finance his own needs also. In these circumstances how the parents can help this person? Many times migrants borrow loan to fulfil the needs of his/her family. Their expectations and demands are so high that the migrants bear a heavy burden of loan for long time. Many times the family members become lazy and stop working because their family member is working abroad. Some times absence of the migrants affects their family and the children often become stubborn, proud and independent. They do not obey their elders or other family members and like to go around in vain. Many times the migrant face the problems of documentation, lack of legal aids causes them social problems. Due to the fear of the police they cannot travel openly. Whereas at home their family members become proud, they change their life style and feel themselves above the others. They misuse money sent by the migrant and many times it becomes the cause of family dispute. Their disputes not only affect family members but even those who are out of country. Their lack of decent job forces them to convert from one religion to another. This is a problem which is very common among our Pakistani Christian brothers and sisters. Many times believers of other religion offer them facilities of life which occurs in the form of changing religion. Therefore it is our first and foremost duty to pray regularly for the migrants so that they may be faithful to their families, country and religion. A survey tells that those who went abroad are not professionals. They struggle hard to find work but in vain. Their lack of job causes mental and physical diseases. Sometimes they do get job but the salaries are so low that they find it difficult to finance themselves and their family at home.
There are some migrants who went abroad because of the political reasons. For safety sake they took refuge in the foreign countries. Those who have official documentation can find some help but those who lack documentation find it difficult to have job and shelter. In these circumstances we need to have good communication, remember them on special occasions such as birthdays, wedding days, and anniversaries. Invite them for family celebrations. Husbands and wives should show fidelity to each other. Apart from the family care they should also remember their responsibilities as Christians. The family should help the migrants to make them aware about need and importance of their own religion. The family should contact their priest or pastors to provide their migrants religious, moral and spiritual support. The elders of the family should take care of the children of those who are working abroad. They need a proper support because in the foreign countries people work from 12 to 14 hours. Therefore it is the responsibility of the family not to waste money rather it should be used properly. Fr. Francis Nadeem OFM, Cap invited the participants to support all those who are working in the foreign country and whenever they come back, to accept and welcome them happily and warmly. Your love and concern for them should not diminish because of less money or failure in the job.
At the end of the seminar the families of migrant workers shared their joys of being successful.
Jobless and less paid workers:
Their parents shared the following problems and difficulties:
The problems that the migrant workers face in the foreign countries.
The parents gave some suggestions for the migrant workers
The parents also appreciated the seminar and suggested that these kinds of seminars should be organized regularly because they help us to evaluate and reflect on the difficulties of our children working abroad. They also promised to help and provide us to find new ways and means of helping them abroad.
The seminar ended with the peace prayer of St. Francis of Assisi
this new blog shall serve as a forum of interchange for all of us, who are engaged with and for the people living around us in difficulties and who are caring for God’s creation.
But it is meant also for those who are simply a little interested.
pace e bene
Br. Benedict Ayodi