About the organization
Since its creation in 1996, the Development Action for Women Network (DAWN) has provided various forms of social services and livelihood support to hundreds of Filipino women migrants who have returned from Japan with their Japanese-Filipino children (JFCs). Cases of distressed women returnees and of JFCs are documented and assessed for determining the kind of intervention or support needed. Distressed returnees are given access to counseling, temporary shelter and travel assistance (depending on the situation), as well as educational and health assistance especially for those who need help in supporting their children. Through DAWN, they can also access legal and paralegal assistance to resolve cases of recognition and financial support, divorce, and work-related disputes or problems. The organization also holds workshops for both JFCs and their mothers, such as Japanese language lessons and summer camps for JFCs and the recent entrepreneurial management seminar for women. Visiting interns and students from Japan are occasionally given a chance to interact with the JFCs and to teach them Japanese and creative activities.
DAWN’s alternative livelihood program offers an opportunity for women migrants to engage in productive activity and to maintain a source of income for themselves and their JFCs. Through the Sikap Buhay (Sikhay) program, women learn skills in sewing, handloom weaving and tie-dye, and are provided the equipment to produce handcrafted products.
The organization continues to provide programs and services to beneficiaries to this day, and the participation of other actors has been valuable. In 2010, the Japan Embassy in the Philippines provided support for DAWN’s projects, particularly in purchasing equipment to be used in the livelihood program, in expanding training seminars and in funding the production of a book project on JFCs.
Creating space for JFCs to creatively express themselves
Selected activities organized by DAWN focus on the involvement of JFCs and create space for the children and youth to express themselves and to find their own voices through creative work.
Teatro Akebono is a theatre group composed of JFC members and DAWN staff that annually stages short plays for both Japanese and Filipino audiences. The theatre group has staged “The Crane Dog,” an original musical play by award-winning Japanese-Filipino playwright Michiko Yamamoto. The story of the musical is said to reflect some of the issues JFCs face, such as their sense of identity and their relationship with their fathers.
In 2010, JFCs shared their artworks and stories in a book published by DAWN titled, “We Are Your Children, Too.” The publication is available in both English and in Japanese.
DAWN JFC for Change
DAWN-JFC for Change is the youth arm of the organization, established by JFCs, with the guidance and support of DAWN. JFC members regularly organize activities that aim to provide a space for exchanging ideas, issues and concerns about their experiences as JFCs, as well as an opportunity for members to get to know one another and build a support group. Activities include members’ participation in Teatro Akebono, study exchange programs or tours and workshops for capacity-building or learning Japanese language and culture. The youth organization also assists in arranging meetings between JFCs and their Japanese fathers.
Development Action for Women Network. (2010). “We Are Your Children, Too.” Manila: DAWN.
Embassy of Japan in the Philippines. (2010). “Japan supports capacity building of women and Japanese-Filipino children.” Press Release #55. Available at http://www.ph.emb-japan.go.jp/pressandspeech/press/pressreleases/2010/55.htm, accessed 27 March 2016