Story
29 Aug 2019
By: Story by: Kaye Viray and Andrea Empamano Aerial footage by JC Borlongan

What makes a great story?

Since the beginning of the year, our team at IOM Philippines has been sharing moving stories from all over the country. They have listened to real voices, witnessed real experiences and met real people on the move.

This is #MyGreatStory

“All humans are migrants. You can have an I.D. from a different place but we are all migrants around the world.” - Jessie Lichauco, a 108-year-old American woman who migrated to Manila, Philippines alone in the 1930s.

Jessie witnessed the birth of a nation, a cruel war and occupation and its reconstruction. She is a striking personality, who knew no boundaries and was well ahead of her time especially as a young woman in that era, travelling alone. Hers is #MyGreatStory of a well lived century-plus life which was brilliantly documented by her granddaughter, Sunshine Lichauco De Leon, through her film Curiosity, Adventure and Love.

That is her great story.

My Great Story Campaign

With migration currently dominating media coverage across the world, it is evident that awareness raising and promotion of good understanding of human mobility is increasingly important. It is recognised that very often, prejudice, discrimination, anti-migrant sentiment and xenophobia often originate from misconception and lack of understanding about realities of migration and the many reasons why people are on the move around the world.

Even in the Philippines, one of the world’s major migrant worker-sending countries, there is an evident gap or disconnect between migrants and general public (those who are not migrants).

Piloting in the Philippines, #MyGreatStory aims to bridge this gap by increasing awareness of Filipino people on migration related issues. It is centred around enhanced social media content supported by interactive public events.

Illustrating the lived realities of migrants and their environments, the ‘My Great Story’ theme aims to bring forward personal accounts and experiences of migrants, internally displaced persons (IDPs), people on the move and convey them to the wider public in an engaging way.

 

Moving Stories from people on the move

A seaweed farmer, a professional chef, and a professional dancer. Let’s meet some of the inspiring real people on the move. These are their great stories.

“Seaweed farming is not just a job I know I can do well, it is also what brings food to my family’s table, and what sends my children to school,” Eddi, 52, shares while working at an IOM-built seaweed dryer and mini warehouse.

He is one of the seaweed farmers in Tawi-Tawi, the southernmost province in the Philippines located in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM). He is a beneficiary of IOM's livelihood program that provides farming equipment and materials like fishing boats and gears, and seaweed dryers to remote areas.

Given the substantial number of poverty-ridden municipalities and provinces, conflict affected areas, and complex emergencies, Mindanao is classified by the World Bank as a fragile sub-region which requires more dedicated resources to ensure a path to peace.

Apart from these setbacks, Tawi-Tawi is an underserved province due to its geographical location.