As an active volunteer of the Filipino Migrant Community, my role is to help preserve the unity and cooperation among Filipinos in Ireland defend their rights and promote the welfare of all Filipino and Irish-Filipino citizens. I also am tasked to address the pressing issues faced by the first generation allied to the long term challenges of living in a bicultural environment.
To date, there are around 14,000 Filipinos in Ireland in which 40 percent are in the younger population. This reality demands for communal response on family education and formation programmes about Filipino values, faith and culture to ensure a well-balanced integration.
Young migrants are more vulnerable when, in combination with their age and stage of life, they experience isolation, exclusion, discrimination and insecurity.
At the same time, adolescent and youth migrants are generally resourceful, resilient, adaptable to new environments and able to learn and speak new languages. Many have skills and qualifications and are familiar with new technologies. When provided with the right opportunities and resources to connect to their roots and integrate into their current host culture, they will have more self awareness.
Arts based programmes can often overcome some of the language, privacy and lack of confidence barriers of young migrants.
It is also important to note that migration, in reality, enriches Irish Society through Cultural Diversity.
Blending Irish and Filipino cultural heritage is an enriching experience. Cultural heritage is the legacy of physical science artifacts and intangible attributes of a group or society that are inherited from past generations, maintained in the present and bestowed for the benefit of future generations.
I am currently conducting a survey regarding Filipino Third Culture Kids (TCKs) in Ireland. I am hoping that the answers that 14-25 year old kids will help me learn the struggles and triumphs of TCKs and determine how Art can help make my youth work more inclusive and appealing to Filipino youth migrants.
A Third Culture Kid (TCK) is defined as someone who has spent a considerable portion of his or her childhood in a country other than his or her parents’ countries. In this case, a Filipino TCK in Ireland is someone who moved from the Philippines to Ireland at some point during his childhood or young adulthood. Any TCK has a tendency to mix and merge their birth culture with their adopted culture, creating one of their own: a third culture.
TCKs are quite known to be quite “worldly,” having a deeper understanding of different cultures, perspectives and world views, and some find being “rootless” as giving them a sense of freedom. However, TCKs also struggle with issues of personal and cultural identity, a sense of belonging, and definitions of what “home” is.