Development Action for Women Network (DAWN)


Source: DAWN Facebook page

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.


2014 March April Theater workshop 393


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.

weaving PATTERN MAKING 011


sewing training sept 2012 003

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.

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Photos courtesy of DAWN


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.


JFC book Launching December 21,2010 We are your Children, Too.JPG

“We Are Your Children, Too” book launch on December 21, 2010. Photos courtesy of DAWN.

DAWN JFC for Change

DAWN JFC.jpgDAWN-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.


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Members of DAWN – JFC for Change. Photo courtesy of DAWN.




Development Action for Women Network (DAWN) Facebook

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, accessed 27 March 2016



JFC shares life story at Enable Kids conference

Arisa Junio, 22, is the Research and Advocacy Officer of the Development Action for Women Network. Below is a copy of her written speech about her experiences as a Japanese-Filipino child (JFC), which she delivered at the Enable Kids Project conference held in Ateneo de Manila University on March 30, 2016. 

Arisa Junio (Photo)

Photo courtesy of Arisa Junio

My life revolves around the saying “everything happens for a reason”. Whatever has happened to my life during the 22 years of my existence, I considered every action, decision, and challenge as brick roads towards what I plan for my life. I am honored to be raised by empowered women, who painstakingly endured all hardships to support my sister and my needs. Peculiar as it may sound, but I am delighted of how my life has become; without these detours in my life, I would never learn how to love myself and appreciate life at its fullest.

To start off, let me tell you a love story. There was once an Overseas Filipina Worker (OFW) and a Japanese contractual agent who met in an entertainment club in Takamatsu, Kagawa-ken in 1992. Their relationship blossomed, and in 1993, she found out that she’s pregnant with her first child. On the 15th of January 1994, she gave birth to a healthy baby girl and named her Arisa. Coincidentally that day as well, the Japanese father was scheduled to arrive in Manila. Baby Arisa was lucky to be with her father; however due to unfortunate circumstances, the baby was only able to be with her father for the first two weeks of her life. Upon his return to Japan, the mother kept on calling him, but the number seems to be out of coverage. She was terrified upon recalling what some of her Filipina friends had experienced with their Japanese partners. Until one day, she came to the realization that she and her child had vanished in his life. The man had cut all the potential communications he had with her. The baby, now 22 years old, grew up without having a glimpse and memory of her Japanese father.

While baby Arisa was growing up, she kept on asking questions about her father: on his whereabouts, condition, and even his presence. She was curious on how his father was, how he looked like, what his hobbies were, and much more. She wanted to see him, and to be with him. At the age of four, she became an older sibling to her JFC sister.

While she was growing up, she felt jealous of her classmates during family day celebrations at school. All she has is a mum, grandma, two aunties, and a little sister. She would force to brush-off the fact that she will never experience having a father during her family celebration gatherings at school. Until during her teenage years that she started getting angry both with her mum and dad because of his absence in her life. She oftentimes locked their door and cried, questioning God why her father left her.

Years had passed, and adulthood came. She was already taking up her undergraduate degree in International Studies major in Development Studies, minor in Gender Studies in Miriam College. Her anger changed to understanding of why certain things should happen in one’s life. She may have grown up without having a father figure at home, but she have four strong women who stood both as father and mother to her and her little sister. She was determined to excel at school, to chase her passion, and to follow her dreams. She has also become an advocate of gender equality—fighting all forms of inequality among men and women. She has participated in various activities of her department on empowering women, and was even inspired to write studies that highlighted narratives of women for publication.

It was during her third year in college when she attended the annual Women’s Summit held by the Women and Gender Institute in Miriam College, and came across the parallel discussion on women and migration. Ms. Carmelita G. Nuqui, the Executive Director of the Development Action for Women Network, was talking about the NGO she handles since 1996. The organization tackles cases of Filipino women migrants from Japan and their Japanese-Filipino Children (JFC). This parallel discussion has been an eye-opener to her, and she decided to apply at DAWN as intern. After communicating with their staff, DAWN accepted her to be one of their interns.

During her internship at DAWN, she felt that for the first time in her life, she has found another family outside her real family. She was welcomed by co-JFC, and had fun activities together. She was also able to hear their stories and experiences of bullying at school because of them being JFC. They were given bad impressions in their communities, schools, and even with their own selves. She was also exposed to the realities of her co-JFC. Despite her busy schedule at school, she finds time to share her knowledge and passion to help other JFC by participating in the several activities facilitated by DAWN. In 2014, she spearheaded the review of the Vision, Mission, and Goals of DAWN-JFC for Change, an organization established by DAWN JFC members on August 22, 2010 to capacitate members through activities for self-development.

Furthermore, DAWN has helped her reinforce her notion of women’s empowerment. She was able to write more on the challenges faced by women in fighting for equality and presented her work in postgraduate, international conferences abroad. Her burning passion in promoting feminism ignited with the help of the exposures she had at DAWN.

Currently, she is working as a Research and Advocacy Officer of DAWN. She utilizes her acquired competencies to provide technical assistance, as well as research expertise on issues regarding women and JFC.

The baby, who is now a proud and fearless sister to her younger sister, has become a woman who aims to achieve her goals and dreams without grieving over the absence of her father in her life. With the help of different people surrounding her, she acquired a new and fresh perspective in life—doing the things she love, fighting for what she believes is right, and empowering people around her with pride and dignity.

I am Arisa, and this is my story.

Growing up away from OFW parents – a daughter’s story

The Enable Kids Project invited Mariel Caguimbal, a Grade 9 student from Canossa Academy, Lipa City, to talk about life as a child of overseas Filipino worker (OFW) parents at a conference in Ateneo de Manila on March 30, 2016. Below is a copy of her speech about growing up away from her parent and finding support from her school’s organization for children of migrants.


Photo courtesy of Mariel Caguimbal (with assistance of Sr. Noemi Mendoza)

To our honorable guests, speakers, and the rest of the audience, a pleasant afternoon to all of you!

My name is Mariel Dianne A. Caguimbal. I am a Gr. 9 student of Canossa Academy Lipa City and a proud member of an organization called Anak ng Nangingibang-Bansa Aruga at Kalinga or ANAK Batangueno.

Membership in the organization does not immediately translate to pure fun and enjoyment like other organizations wherein people of my age join because they would want to develop their skills or talents or find an avenue where they can express themselves. A major requirement that one must have in order to become part of ANAK Batangueno is to have a parent or both parents working overseas – something that not all children would have.

I believe that the members of the organization, myself included, are special – special in a way that as young as we are, we already undergo certain pains and struggles in the family. Every morning, our parents could have been the ones waking us up from bed or preparing breakfast for us but they’re not. Every afternoon, our parents could have been the ones waiting for us to be dropped off by the school service or school bus by the gate side of our houses but they’re not. What we have are relatives or helpers who would temporarily fill in the presence of our parents who are working really hard to provide us with a stable living condition.

I know that those of you who share the same thoughts and experience can truly relate to what I’m saying. There are times when we would want to talk to our moms and dads personally but we could only reach them via facetime, skype, text message, or whatever technology offers now.

I, myself, long for my parents’ presence. They’ve been working outside our country for 22 years now as engineers. Currently, they’re in Russia and my aunt serves as my guardian for the time-being until they get back. Unlike the others, their schedules are more flexible. They would always ensure that they’ll be with us during the holiday season in December and go back to the Philippines every 2 months to stay for almost a month with us. I’m lucky enough to get a chance to talk to them every day via facetime or text message. Despite the distance and difference in time zones, I would sometimes ask them to help me in my assignments and seek for their advice whenever the need arises. No words can explain how grateful I am to have them as my parents. They always show their full support to me in whatever I do despite my occasional wrongdoings to them. I would still say that without them, I am nothing – I wouldn’t be who I am right now without their guidance.

Personally and academically, one of the main support systems that I have is one of my organizations in the school which is ANAK Batangueno – as I have mentioned earlier. Once a month, a session would be conducted. Here, the moderators would show video presentations and documentaries of children who share the same experience as us with the goal of enlightening our minds so that we may fully understand our situation and keep us away from deviating from what is right. The school would also invite motivational speakers for ANAK organization who would motivate us to do better in school and become closer to God. In fact, one of them was the foundress of a social networking site called “Faithbook.” This website really resembles Facebook but there are Bible passages, readings, and other elements that can keep us open-minded. Apart from the talks, ANAK did let us interact and share our experiences and talents with co-ANAK members from La Consolacion College, Tanauan City, Batangas.

Such organizations or programs never fail to keep track with the life of the students because we, as children with migrant parents, feel that we are prioritized and counseled if needed. Canossa Academy of Lipa City also adopted an examination from CBCP and the ECMI program designed for an Overseas Filipino Worker or OFW child. Such tests help students like me to discover ourselves better through the questions asked in the exams.

Lastly, The Peer Facilitators’ program which ANAK offers also helped me to become more relational. It helped me and the other members of ANAK gain more friends and form a sense of leadership within ourselves through the interactions we have in the group.

To the listeners who share the same experience as mine, we may have been born in the circumstance wherein we need to accept the fact that there is distance between our parents and us but the situation per se does not dictate our direction in life. We, ourselves, choose how we interact with the world. Yes, there will be times wherein we would long for love, affection, or guidance that our OFW parents and even our relatives cannot provide but that’s why we have secondary support systems in our schools that can help us with our needs. We just always need to keep an open mind and think that whatever happens, with the best efforts of our parents, relatives, and programs or organizations in our schools, everything will be well.

Thank you and have a great day!

Batis Center for Women


About the organization

Batis Center for Women is a non-profit and non-government organization providing programs and services to help distressed Filipino women migrant returnees and their families. As an initiative that began in 1988 to assist returning and returned Filipino women migrants, including victims of human trafficking, illegal recruitment and unjust labor conditions, the center takes on an empowerment-oriented approach has run a wide range of services assist Filipino women migrant returnees, such as counseling, education and training, social enterprise development and legal and medical assistance. These services fall under specific programs, namely the social case management program, the women empowerment program and the children and youth development program.

Batis Center for Women aims “to transform women’s status as clients to empowered individuals,” and seeks to provide “support to the women and children as they go through the process of taking control of their lives and empower themselves by creating opportunities for them.”


Batis Center for Women, in partnership with Maligaya House, holds forum titled, “Exploring Life and Work Options in Japan for Japanese-Filipino Children and their Mothers.” Photo courtesy of Batis Center for Women

Empowering Filipino women returnees and Japanese-Filipino children

Among the many women migrants benefiting from their programs are Filipino women returnees from Japan and their Japanese-Filipino children. In many cases, such women migrant returnees were abandoned or separated from their Japanese husbands or fathers, and ended up returning to the Philippines with their children. To respond to their specific needs, the center in 1996 formed the Batis Association of Women in Action for Rights and Empowerment (Batis-AWARE) for the women returnees from Japan, while in 2000, it created the Batis Youth Organization that Gives Hope and Inspiration (Batis-YOGHI) for JFCs. In recent years, Batis has also assisted distressed women returnees from Southeast Asia and the Middle East.


Batis-YOGHI logo. Source: Batis-YOGHI (Facebook)

Through the Children and Youth Development Program, in particular Batis-YOGHI, the center conducts different activities to support Japanese-Filipino children and their mothers. For Japanese-Filipino children eligible for Japanese nationality, their cases are referred to partners of the organization. Other activities encouraging youth involvement and promoting awareness of Japanese and Filipino culture include holding summer camps, seminars and workshops and sports festivals. Activities related to education and training include leadership and team-building seminars, career orientation, peer-counseling training and educational discussions on topics such as children’s rights, migration and nationality. Batis-YOGHI creates a space where participating Japanese-Filipino children and youth can share the everyday concerns and issues they face and to support each other in the process.


A snapshot from one of Batis-YOGHI’s summer camps, held in 2012. Source: Batis Center for Women / Batis-YOGHI


JFCs participate in peer discussion sessions on dealing with the absence of fathers and abandonment (see photos below). Source: Batis-YOGHI






Batis Center for Women (Official Website)

Batis Center for Women (Facebook)

Batis-YOGHI (Facebook)

Kopino Children Association, Inc.


Logo and photo (above) courtesy of Kopino Children Association, Inc. (KCAI)

The Kopino Children’s Association, Inc. (KCAI) is a non-profit organization that has been helping disadvantaged Korean-Filipino children in the Philippines since it was created in 2004. “Kopino” refers to children born between a Korean father and a Filipino mother, a term proposed by KCAI founder Bum Sik “Cedric” Son, a Korean vocational missionary. Meanwhile, some use ‘KFC,’ an acronym for ‘Korean-Filipino children.’

The KCAI, headed by  Mr. Cedric and his wife Normi, promotes the interests and welfare of Kopinos, with a mission “to promote and advance the interest of disadvantaged Kopino children and youth in the Philippines and to assist them to embrace both their Filipino and Korean heritage through educational and welfare referral programs.”

The KCAI’s key services focus on helping Korean-Filipino children meet their educational needs. Kopinos aged 6 to 22 years old can enhance their learning by taking supplementary classes and tutorials in English, Math and Science through the organization’s After-School Academy, a program run in partnership with the Joyful Scholars Montessori, Inc., with the participation of Korean exchange students from the University of the Philippines, and with the support of Filipino and Korean volunteers. The organization also holds an “Every Saturday School” program that offers Hangeul and Korean culture lessons for Kopinos, with the goal of helping them learn more about their Korean heritage.



KCAI’s other programs include counseling support, coverage of dental and medical services, a temporary housing/shelter, as well as home and family workshops, which include activities to help mothers learn to become financially independent. Organizational staff members are also available to help connect a Kopino child and mother to the Korean father or spouse, and for other related concerns or requests for assistance.

For more information, check out the KCAI’s official website and Facebook page, listed in the references. Below are links to an iWitness documentary featuring the organization.

Part 1


Part 2





Kopino Children’s Association, Inc. Facebook Page

Kopino Children’s Association, Inc. Official Website