Saturday, September 9, 2023

Digital remittances ensure well-being, equitable access for PWDs—WorldRemit


The socio-economic barriers faced by persons with disabilities (PWDs) often result in increased expenses compared to individuals without disabilities.


A 2022 report by UNICEF Philippines estimates that the cost of raising a child with disabilities is 40 to 80% higher than the cost for children without disabilities. This expense becomes especially challenging for households below the poverty line.


“For many Filipino families, remittances hold the key to a better future. As they’re guaranteed to increase the financial and social mobility of a household, they can also augment the additional costs that may come with caring for a family member with a disability or special needs,” said Earl Melivo, Head of Asia Pacific at WorldRemit.


For Leo*, an OFW for 15 years and a father of six, he does his best to work hard for each child. When caring for his eldest daughter who has a learning disability, he mentioned that most of his dedicated remittances goes into her healthcare.


Gumagastos din kami ng malaking halaga para habang lumalaki siya, lumalago din ang bahay, kayang ma-accommodate yung kanyang mga pangangailangan,” he also said.


(We also spend a large amount on necessary improvements at home so her needs are accommodated while they’re growing up.)


Health expenditures were identified as the main source of extra costs in PWD households, amounting to almost three times more than spending in other households. A study by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) found that PWD households spend an average of P15,225.66 yearly on healthcare alone.


Other common costs went to education and transportation if the child was enrolled in school. However, in the Philippines where social services and policies for PWDs are severely limited, families like Leo’s may incur even more expenses.


As a result, he makes it a point to constantly send money home for his daughter’s medication, among other expenses. “Dahil medyo mahirap lang kami, hindi na namin siya naparehistro as PWD. Wala kaming benefits na nakukuha. Dito sa probinsya, wala namang budget sa mga ganyan ang LGU namin,” he said.


(We are not well off, so we haven’t had the chance to register her as a PWD. We don’t get any benefits, especially in the province where the local government doesn’t have a fund for PWDs.)


With all the challenges that come with caring for a PWD, Leo values his bond with his family the most. Besides constantly communicating with his wife as they raise their family together, he looks forward to spending time and talking personally with his daughter when he is home.


“Kailangan lang ng kaunting pasensya at maraming pagmamahal (They just need a bit of patience and lots of love),” he said.


Leo also reminded fellow OFW parents of how important their efforts and sacrifices are to their family, and that their PWD children experience better lives because of them.


WorldRemit advocates for financial inclusion to help champion more PWDs and their families.


"We believe that every individual, regardless of their abilities, deserves equal opportunities in life. This starts with more equitable access to essential resources. Since you don’t need to go far and visit physical stores for digital remittances, it’s one of many ways we can innovate our platforms to be more inclusive of PWDs,” Melivo said.


An inclusive society requires a collective effort. WorldRemit continues to stand with PWDs by providing a reliable and accessible way for OFWs to support their loved ones with special needs.


*Name has been changed for confidentiality.


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