"Sikhay" for Sikap-Buhay

When Ms. Gennie Kim told me about her project with the IOM Migration Research and Training Center, I was not surprised that she would choose to start a project for Filipino women returnees from Korea ~ those who were once married to Koreans and those who were here as migrant workers.
It is no secret that Ms. Gennie Kim is a single mom to a teenage boy. In fact, she is proud of her story and rightfully so as she was able to ride out all the storms that came her way. She is a woman empowered. I have seen how dedicated Gennie is with her advocacy ~ many times she forgoes sleep and rest to pursue activities that she thinks would benefit the Filipinos in Korea. She reminds me of another Filipina in Korea when it comes to her dedication not just to her job but to public service as well ~ you may know her as the first non-ethnic Korean lawmaker.
When the staff of DAWN or Development Action for Women’s Network were in Seoul, Ms. Gennie Kim was all-out with their meetings. Her project is called “Socio-Economic Cooperation for Returned Filipino Women Migrants and their Children at the Development Action for Women Network (DAWN)”. She hopes that this project would help empower Filipino women immigrant in Korea who have returned to the Philippines.
When I attended one Filipino marriage immigrant meeting at the Philippine Embassy, I heard of some of the heartbreaking stories of Filipino women who married Koreans. As a counselor, Gennie must have known too many of them. I’m not a counselor but I sometimes receive emails from women who were divorced by their husbands and find it hard to go back to their lives in the Philippines. A few of them end up as GROs and some had to rely on dole-outs from NGOs. The objective of DAWN and Gennie’s project is to make them self-reliant by training them and thus gain valuable skills that would help them help themselves.

SIKHAY - Sikap Buhay
SIKHAY – Sikap Buhay

One project of DAWN is called “SIKHAY” or “Sikap-Buhay”. In this livelihood project, women learn how to weave, design, sew and market a variety of textile products. Their items are made with purpose and handcrafted with hope, inexpensive and of course ~ proudly Philippine-made.
“SIKHAY” product range includes body bag, pencil case, scarf, table runner, shoulder bag, eyeglass and cellphone holder, table mats and more. They would make a great gift for all occasion.
“SIKHAY” products may not be as glamorous as the famous brands available in the market, but truly confident women wouldn’t care about brands. This reminds me of the Singapore prime minister’s wife who proudly displayed a $11 clutch on her meeting with the FLOTUS at the White House.
You can find “SIKHAY” products on their Facebook page –


Ms. Gennie Kim is currently in the Philippines. She has been attending meetings and training with DAWN. Like the Filipino women at DAWN, she is learning how to make “Sikhay” products. She is also a special guest at RADYO OFW with Hannah Seneres and Gemma Gumamela.