Oman is considered the safest country in the Middle East with around 50,000 OFWs currently residing and around 70 % of the total population are Domestic Workers. Despite of this, there are problems that needs to be addressed for the protection & welfare of OFWs.
The most effective way to resolve this concern is to properly equip the people who are directly handling the cases which are the Foreign Recruitment Agencies. To help FRAs Case Officers, AFRAR requested to POLO Oman the possibility to conduct a training on how to effectively deal with distressed workers and properly resolve legal issues.
Luckily, our Labor Attache, Ponciano Ligutom, is an advocate of Innovative and Empowering programs that encompasses the Mission of Department of Labor & Employment (DOLE) which aims to promote gainful employment opportunities while maintaining industrial peace. This pave the way to materialize and conduct the BASIC COUNSELING SKILLS & PSYCHOLOGICAL FIRST AID TRAINING.
The program’s main objective is to enhance the knowledge and awareness of the Case Officers of each Foreign Recruitment Agencies with the help of four very enabled Filipino resource speakers working in Ministry of Health who volunteered to share their rich knowledge and skills to facilitate the said training:
MARINA MAGNOLIA B. GALLARDO-NINOBLA, DNSc, RN, RM
RICHARD D. LORESCO, MAN, MSN, RN, RM
CYRUZ P. TUPPAL, DNSc, PhD, RN, RM, RT
MARA GERBABE D. RUIZ, DNSc, RN
Total of 25 Case Officers from different FRAs, POLO members & volunteer facilitators arrived at the training venue at around 7 AM, wherein simple Filipino food was served and shared by everyone for breakfast.
WELCOME & INTRODUCTION TO THE WORKSHOP
At exactly 8AM the program started by opening prayer, followed by remarks of AFRAR team and POLO. Filipino song “BAYAN KO” set everyone’s spirit to the main goal of the program to liberate the minds of Filipinos to help our fellow OFWs.
LabAtt Noy emphasizes the importance of different organizations and collaborations of all OFWs to BUILD A PALACE FOR FILIPINOS WORKING HERE IN OMAN.
His advocacy for the maintenance of Industrial Peace by strengthening the relationship of POLO not just to the workers but the partnership with FRAs as well, led to this empowering program that will address the legal protection and welfare handling concerns of workers by educating and training FRAs Case Officers.
With this he asked a challenging question in his opening remarks, “What are we doing in the bigger scheme of things?”
EXPECTATION SETTING & PRETEST
The Facilitators started the training with GET TO KNOW activity and setting the expectations of the participants.
They gave PRE-TEST to be followed by POST-TEST at the end of the program to assess the learnings of the participants.
SESSION 1: Introduction to Effective Communication & Counseling process
Counseling is a dynamic process of helping someone with a problem.
And as what the first Facilitator, Dr. Marina Magnolia Ninobla said, “Di natin kailangan ng pwesto para makatulong. Intend to share whatever you have.”
“Counseling is NOT simply advice giving”
SESSION 2: Principles & Skills of Therapuetic Communication
Therapuetic communication is a healing and curative interactive relationship that requires unconditional positive regard which will help distressed workers resolve their problems.
Certain skills are needed such as (GRRET) Genuineness, Rapport, Respect, Empathy, Trust and Active Listening.
“The only way to therapeutic communication is to choose your words”
SESSION 3: Steps in Counseling
Participants were asked to do some case scenarios on the proper steps of counseling a distressed worker.
“If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it,” Dr. Mara Gerbabe Ruiz
SESSION 4: Workshop Activity – Case scenarios and identification of Communication Pitfalls
This activity aims to highlight the common mistake we are saying to other people and how we can better deliver the message to the distressed client.
“Slow to speak, quick to listen, slow to anger”
SESSION 5: DEMONSTRATION of G-A-T-H-E-R counselling and Introduction of the TEG
G – Greet
A – Ask / assess
T – Tell
H – Help
E – Explain
R – Review / Refer
At the end of the first day training, participants were asked to make a summary of the learnings and evaluation of the workshop.
Before having dinner, short program was held that showcased the talents and entertained the group. It was a very lively fellowship activity wherein participants felt at home and relaxed.
Second day started with a prayer and a game to recapitulate the learnings which participants had the first day.
SESSION 6: Rights of Wards and Form of Abuse
In this session, Case Officers were given certain points that they can use as guide in attending ward cases.
It was emphasized that if other people can help OFWs, what more those who are responsible for their welfare such as FRAs.
“FREEDOM ALWAYS COMES WITH ACCOUNTABILITY”
SESSION 7: Depression in Primary Care
(Assessing Suicide Risk)
Identifying the RED FLAGS with someone who has suicidal tendencies is very important especially with the wards who are experiencing traumatic and depressive events in their lives.
It was discussed by Mr. Richard Loresco how to determine if someone is really having depression or was only experiencing sadness or distressed and how to balance impressions of Case Officers towards their wards.
SESSION 8: Psychological First Aid and Case Management for the Wards
Video presentation was shared to the participant to help them understand more what PFA means. Everyone is enlightened with the proper procedure in support for a distressed person to guide the Case Officers of FRAs.
“Communication without the use of self is useless,” Dr. Cyrus Tuppal
WORKSHOP ACTIVITY: Role Playing and Counseling Skills Practice on Risk Assessment and Case management One-on-One Re-Demo
Participants were divided into 5 small groups to help them practice the learnings from the 8 sessions / discussions. They were given different case scenario which they acted as Case Officer & Wards. After each role playing the facilitators discussed the whole process with the group members, highlighting the strengths and points to improve of each participant.
5 participants heartfully shared their impressions with the whole training that also enlightened and touched the rest of the group.
“Di mo sya (worker) dapat pangunahan, need mo silang pakinggan,” Danielle
“Ilagay natin (ang ating sarili) sa sitwasyon ng mga workers,” Hazel
“Time pa lang na tumuntong sa Oman (ang workers) dapat ramdam na nila ang presence natin,” Mhel
“Dapat sya (worker) ang nagsasabi ng solusyon para sa kanya,” Mary Jane
“Nagkaroon ako ng madaming kaalaman na maapply ko sa paghandle ng cases,” Emel
In the closing remarks from WelOf Malou wherein she powerfully shared her experiences as the only Welfare Officer here in Oman. “There is a time that I also break down.”
Ms. Malou shared her experiences in handling with the cases and how she manages the responsibility with the help of our Labor Attache, and how they are expecting the same with FRAs.
Ms. Malou also emphasized that Case Officers must look after themselves as well and must maintain the calmness in handling cases. “You must trust your knowledge, experience and intuition. And the secret to harmonious relationship is the balance of the interest of both parties.”
Labatt Noy mentioned in his Exhortation message that POLO is doing their best to be a model not just here in Oman but to all whom will be extended by the outcome of this program for INNOVATIONS & EMPOWERMENT as part of the advocacy as VISSION KEEPERS to be Great OFWs Loving & Desirous to Serve.
Awarding of Certificates to the 25 participants and appreciation to the Volunteer Facilitators followed by group picture ended the entire training program with the learnings that will be brought home and applied to help fellow OFWs.
The whole training program reflects the bitter sweet life of OFWs, the challenges that everyone is facing and how we can help build each other by sharing what we have and what we can do even in simplest way, as what LabAtt Noy says, “The life that is not shared is a life not worth living for.”
JESSERY R. MEDINA, Documentor
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