KUWAIT: As part of the Kuwaiti government and the Philippine Embassy’s efforts to give abandoned and undocumented children a chance to lead a normal life while their parents continue to work in the Gulf country, 20 children (three abandoned and 17 undocumented), aged 8 months to 14 years, have been repatriated to the Philippines.
Most undocumented children in Kuwait are usually denied a formal education as they are not accepted in any schools – private or public. The repatriation program, which has been going on for years, is done on a monthly basis. The program is considered by many as the best and viable solution for the growing number of undocumented Filipino children in Kuwait, reported Kuwait Times.
There are four categories of undocumented children assisted by the embassy: (1) Totally abandoned (2) Left by one of the parents or left homeless because their parents were arrested by the authorities (3) Illegitimate children of parents who are not legally married and (4) Children whose parents do not meet the required salary cap set by Kuwait, the report said.
The repatriated children were accompanied by their parents and guardians and the embassy’s Assistance to Nationals Unit (ATNU) team led by Philippine Social Welfare Attache Nilda Oliva.
“Another group of children will be back home with their families. Some of them were left in the care of the Philippine Embassy for a while now, and some are children whose parents are unable to provide them iqamas, making them illegal here,” she said. “In order to help parents, we introduced this program many years ago and hundreds have benefited from it. This program of the Philippine Embassy has been made possible by the support and cooperation of the Kuwaiti immigration and CID division,” Oliva was quoted as saying.
Oliva called on Filipino parents of undocumented children to visit the embassy and urged them to prioritize child welfare. “We have to cooperate and bring them to our attention, because at the end of the day, we will provide the request to the immigration department. Without our endorsement, no apprSource: oval will be given. So I urge you to come and coordinate with us. We will try to help you in sending your children back home. Do not be afraid because we are doing our best for all our kababayans. Do not worry, we will not hand you over to the authorities. Some are afraid because they might get arrested, but we will not allow this, so please come and accept our assistance,” she promised.
Parents who want their children to be assisted by the embassy may enlist their kids at the embassy shelter in Hateen for the processing of their travel documents and clearances, reported Kuwait Times.
The shelter is open 24 hours in Block 2, Street 217, Villa 42, or the hotline +96598005115 can be contacted for all requirements. Oliva also clarified that the three abandoned children sent home will be temporarily housed at the government’s Department of Social Workers and Development before they are given to foster parents.