South-East Asia: Helping workers on the move

?This age of globalisation is breaking down all protection for the local economy,? says Nilo Tanalega SJ. ?People are struggling to protect local industries and products. Many are preparing economic safety nets, but hardly anyone considers social safety nets!? The non-profit Foundation for Family (UGAT) supports migrant workers and families in their personal struggles and relationships by building support systems in their communities. Programs address migrant life and family situations, care and support for married singles, counselling skills for caregivers of migrants, psychological intervention for migrant run-aways, pastoral care for children of overseas workers, and support for seafarers? spouses who remain behind. Migrant worker couples in Singapore and Malaysia, for example, are worried about job security, since a lot of workers are being sent home due to the effects of the Asian economic recession. UGAT recently broadcast a live counselling program on the radio from Batam, Indonesia. In December, Fr. Nilo was a guest speaker at a forum for Church, NGOs and embassies involved with migrants in Singapore. Embassy staff from Sri Lanka and Philippines attended the talk, as did the Catholic pastoral commission of India, and concrete action plans were drawn up. [HL20304]