Monday, June 17, 2024

How OWWA Reintegration Program Helped Ex-Saudi OFW Launch Water Refilling Business

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Shui King. No, it’s not a spin-off for a local fast-food chain but it’s the former name of Mr. Jackaria Omar’s Water Refilling Station in Manila. According to him, “shui” in Chinese means water, therefore, making it a perfect pre-fix for the business he put up in 2006 along with his wife, Myrna.

Fast forward to 2010, Mr. Omar’s daughter, Jamira, a registered nurse at the age of 23, flew to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) to work for a government hospital. She worked abroad for five years in the Eastern region of KSA and after 5 years decided to go back to her native land due to the increasing atrocities in the said region. During her stay in KSA, her father advised her on putting up a business of her own when she returns to the country. Heeding her father’s advice, Jamira banked on her family’s already established business – a water refilling station. Upon returning to the country, Jamira together with her father immediately attended Overseas Worker’s Welfare Administration’s (OWWA) orientation on the 2B Reintegration Loan Program.

Leaning on OWWA

Forming part of OWWA’s Reintegration Program, the 2 Billion-Peso Reintegration Fund for enterprise development is a loan facility in cooperation with the Land Bank of the Philippines and the Development Bank of the Philippines, where an OWWA member or their legal dependent can avail of P300,000 to Php 2 million for their chosen enterprise.

“Nung na-release na yung funds, una muna naming itinayo yung building para sa business,” Mr. Omar recounts. In 2011, the establishment was built just beside their residence at Brgy Cabaluay fronting the highway – providing the best exposure for their business which was now named Water Market, a franchise Mr. Omar brought from Manila. He currently manages their Zamboanga branch as his daughter stays in Manila after her stint in KSA.

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“Sinabi ko sa anak ko na mag-stay muna siya sa Manila. Mag relax-relax muna siya kasi matagal din siya namalagi doon sa Saudi para magtrabaho. At least ngayon, naipundar na namin ang negosyo niya. Sa 2017, mababayaran na namin ng buo ang loan namin sa Landbank,” says Mr. Omar proudly.

Addressing Problems

However, Mr. Omar admits that business wasn’t always going well. In 2013, their enterprise experienced a lull in profit brought about by stiff competition, water rationing, and constant power outages in the city.

“Nung time na yon, lahat ng expenses ng Zamboanga branch shouldered ng Manila branch namin. Tamang tama lang para sa water and electric bills yung kinikita ng branch namin dito,” Mr. Omar confesses. But they never lost hope and continued with their day-today operations thinking of better strategies to address the problems they encountered.

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“Bumili ako ng additional water tank at sinasabihan namin ang mga customers namin na iwan yung mga containers around 6pm at kunin nila sa umaga kasi sa gabi lang may supply ng tubig,” says Mr. Omar.

Photo: OWWA

Better and Brighter Future

As of now, Omar’s Water Market Refilling Station serves customers from Teacher’s village, Brgy Cabaluay and nearby barangays as it opens at 7 am. In the future, Mr. Omar and his daughter plans to set up another branch if given the chance to apply for a re-loan.

“Nagpapasalamat kame sa OWWA na natulungan nila kame ipatayo itong negosyo. Ang advice ko sa mga gustong umasenso din, magplano sila, mag-attend sila ng entrepreneurship training na binibigay ng OWWA at kung maaari, sana yung pwesto kung saan nila ipapatayo yung negosyo ay sa kanila mismo para yung kita, hindi na mapunta sa renta o bayad sa upa,” Omar added.

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Jamira Omar, is just one of the many successful recipients of the 2B reintegration program. For more details on OWWA’s programs and services, visit our office at 3rd Floor Goodwill Center, Mayor Jaldon St., Canelar, Zamboanga City or contact us at (062) 991-2785.

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