From OFW to Proud 'Carenderia' Owner
December 29, 2017
"Sabi kasi nila pag OFW ka, bayani ka kasi nakakapagpadala ka sa magulang mo, sa mga kamag-anak mo pero hanggang kailan?", Zandra said. (They say that when you're an OFW, you're a hero because you have the ability to send money back home to your parents and children but for how long?)
24-year old, Zandra Amilhamja, went to Brunei in 1997. She worked as a spa attendant at Nur Berjaya Spa in Kuala Belait. She realized that her routine abroad was to go to work and then send money to the Philippines. She has no savings and even came to a point when she had to ask her employer for cash advances to defray her ailing parent's medical bills.
"Kasi hindi kana man habangbuhay nasa abroad. while nasa abroad ka mag-ipon para pagdating dito, hindi ka nganga", she said. (Work abroad is temporary. While you're there, you have to save so that when you return home, you don't end up broke.)
After 16 years of working overseas with no valid work permit on her last years of stay in Brunei, she finally went back to the Philippines in 2013.
While scrolling through her Facebook feed, she saw a friend's post regarding the program of the National Reintegration Center for OFWs (NRCO) and asked her friend about it. She was referred to NRCO in 2016.
On April 07, 2017, she attended NRCO's Financial Awareness Seminar and Small Business Training and went on to join a Basic Cooking Course conducted by the same agency in partnership with Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA). In late June of 2017, Zandra received her starter kits composed of materials intended for commercial cooking.
Today, 44-year old Zandra has a "carenderia" (eatery) at Sangali Fish Port, Sangali, Zamboanga City. She shared that she has already bought the rights for the stall. She earns P8,000 a day and employs four relatives to help her run the eatery. She shared that through her business she was able to send her child to a private school, sustain her family's daily needs and afford to go on a vacation once in a while.
Zandra, who worked as a spa attendant in Brunei, has been passionate on beauty-related services. She will be opening her own salon in Sangali, Zamboanga City next year.
Zandra concluded that her success story is just a matter of perseverance.
With reports from Joni Sarina Mejico, NRCO 9