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Umela holds 6th graduation

22 November 2018

United Migrants Entrepreneurship and Livelihood Association (Umela) Hong Kong officers, members and guests celebrate the graduation of the latest batch of trainees.

By Daisy CL Mandap

About 100 Filipino migrant workers in scrub suits and outfits they made themselves proudly marched in front of an assembled crowd at Bayanihan Centre on Nov. 4 to claim their certificates for completing massage therapy or livelihood training courses.

These were the latest graduates of the year-round training offered for free by United Migrants Entrepreneurship and Livelihood Association (Umela) Hong Kong, under the leadership of its founder, Ofelia Baquiran.

Topping the list of graduates was Donabelle D Uanang, who was named “Best Student” of batch 34 of the massage therapy class.

She received her medal from Consul Paul Saret, who lauded Umela for focusing  on helping Filipino migrants learn new skills in preparation for their eventual return home.

Saret also shared how the Consulate has been tackling head-on the debt problem of many overseas Filipino workers, by asking the Hong Kong government if it was possible to lower the legal interest rates for loans, which is 60%.

In turn, Hong Kong, through Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung, reportedly asked the Consulate to step up its education drive so Filipinos will avoid signing up for loans they don’t really need, or cannot repay.

Another guest, welfare officer Marivic Clarin, told the graduates that their skills training is one of those that could merit livelihood assistance from the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration Office in Hong Kong.

She advised them to approach the office if they want to know more about the kind of help they could get should they decide to go home for good.

Aside from massage therapy, Umela also provides training in dressmaking, macramé bag making, ribbon folding, bead works, and other crafts.

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