Its been two and a half year since I joined and become the president of Batis-AWARE. My organization has four programs and the goal is to empower returned migrant women and their children. As a former migrant worker, feminist and artist I truly understand the hardship of reintegration as well as the current situations of returned migrant women and their families. One of the program of Batis-AWARE is Networking and Advocacy.
2016 when the National Book Development Board in connection with Batis Center for women, Batis-AWARE was invited in a creative writing session, for the celebration of women’s month, that was March 2016. For the first time, Batis-AWARE met Dr. Chingbee Cruz of Youth and Beauty Brigade, the facilitator for the said activity. Writing was a tough one, I along with 15 women of batis AWARE, were excited and nervous that day. Not all of the women of Batis-AWARE has the capability and courage to express their own experiences through writing, so some of the women did illustrations and poetry to summarize their stories. Another thing is that some women are afraid and ashamed to write their past experiences, some also pitted for themselves. I was scared that people, the readers might know my past, mis understood my situation and be judged. But for the love, to stand for the rights of women and their children, DALOY was launched!
After all the struggles and negativity, August 2016 when Batis-AWARE with the help of Youth and Beauty Brigade, National Book Development Board and Balangay Productions, DALOY 1 was launched at Batis-AWARE office, 54 K 9th St. West Kamias, Quezon City, Philippines. Despite of bad weather, there were visitors from academe, friends, partner organizations and supporters of Batis-AWARE and Youth and Beauty Brigade, since then BA and YBB became partners. That night of launching, there were poetry readings, Singing, recognition of authors and the best part is book signing. It was first time for Batis-AWARE to authored their own book, most of the time, academe and individuals are the publisher of Batis-AWARE stories, and the credits goes to them not to the women of Batis-AWARE. It’s a sad reality, but I know they learned a lot from the stories of women.
Daloy 1 is a zine, a collection of writings of the Filipino Migrant women of Batis-AWARE, composed of 56 pages, I remember how Batis-AWARE did the self- publication, Chingbee and I went to shopping center inside university of the Philippines, it’s a place where photocopy is life and everything inside the center is cheap. From buying of papers, printing of cover and writings of the zine, Adam David, who is a volunteer layout artist of DALOY, also taught Batis-AWARE how to self- Publish the book. The zine became an informative material for the advocacies of batis-AWARE, it also helped the women in empowerment program, some of the women became interested in writing since then. I even started to write and publish online issues at World Pulse. It also helped the organization's income, DALOY is also an income generator to sustain the activities of the organization.
Empowerment Through Art as a fund raiser of Batis-AWARE, in collaboration with Commission on Human Rights, opened an Art exhibit for a cause entitled, Women and Children in Communities: Real Struggles at Commission on Human Rights, Diliman, Quezon City. As part of the program, two of the women of Batis-AWARE read some writings from DALOY and expressed their thoughts on issues of returned migrant women. The Vice Chairperson of Gabriela Ms. Gert Libang and Dr. Chingbee Cruz graced the program and announced the upcoming launching of DALOY 2. E.T.A. Exhibit runs from July 9 to July 31.
This year, 2018, Batis-AWARE is proud to share the upcoming launching of DALOY for the second time. The composition is more informative and deeper, about the issues of Batis-AWARE, as a migrant worker, their rights as a woman, their battle in everyday lives. Currently, as one of the author and editor of DALOY, I am at the stage of editing and hoping to launch DALOY 2 at Commission on Human Rights, at the latest is last week of August. This is to be announced, will surely share the activity online thru Facebook Live.
I saw the importance of writing, I can say that despite of the weakness of Batis-AWARE, and the stories of vulnerabilities, these stories and writings are the testimonies of success. DALOY became the voices of voiceless women in my community, through writings and illustrations, Batis-AWARE expressed their emotions, problems, issues on addressing the shortfall of the society and government in the past and current situations of the women in marginalized sector.
I would like to express my gratitude to all the supporters of Batis-AWARE, to my good friend Dr. Chingbee Cruz and Sir Adam David, to one of the board of trustee of Batis-AWARE, Ms. Mabi David who helps the women in empowerment through plant based foods, to Prof. Joe Takeda, Kwansei Gakuin University, to Good Food Community, my vegetable family, Empowerment Through Art, to my Kasibulan Family Kababaihan sa Sining at Bagong Sibol na Kamalayan, to Batis-Center for Women, Balangay Production, Ms. Faye Cura, Gantala Press, High Chair, World Pulse, Vital Voices and to everyone who supports Batis-AWARE.