Indian transmigrants want to serve but…

Indian students in Davao

Regular attendance to mass gives peace of mind to these Indian nationals who are studying in Davao.

March 5 is Migrants Sunday

Have you been to Lachmi Shopping Mall and Love Bargain Bazaar lately? Do you know that these are Indian owned companies?

For many years, Indian migrants in the Philippines are engaged in micro-financing activities and in large-scale businesses that have imprints on the development of Philippine society. Migrants are workers who move from place to place to do seasonal work.

In 2015, 63,000 Indians live in the Philippines and that majority of them are part of Indian diasporic communities. According to available data, Indians are dispersed all over the country and comprise both the diaspora (Sindhi businessmen and Punjabi traders) and, more recently, the transmigrants (IT professionals and students). Transmigrating is defined as the passing of persons from one place or state to another.

Indian nationals Romiya, Raj, Aljith Xavier, and Meena are Medicine students of the Davao Medical School Foundation (DMSF) in Bajada. Raj is a Protestant while Meena is Hindu. They used to live in a nearby boarding house in San Pablo Parish and now boarding in Bajada. Although far, they still continue attending Sunday Mass in San Pablo because they like the ambience. They offer no other explanation when two of them are not Catholics. They are here for 3 years already.

Asked to share their experiences of Philippine hospitality, Davao in particular, they say they have not encountered any racial discrimination. Their only complaint is that tricycle drivers charge them exorbitant fare. Finding food is no hassle even when they are no pork eaters. They like chicken adobo and chicken sisig.

Studying abroad is attractive among Indians. Philippines is just one among their destinations. It is chosen by about 2000 Indian college students not because it is cheaper. Rupee and Peso have almost the same value. Safety and tropical weather, the latter similar to their country are their prime consideration.

Language is not a major concern for they can communicate in English and understand a little of the Visayan dialect having spent 3 years here.

Meantime, serving or being actively involved in the parish here interests them, but they said that their schooling is a priority. This was validated in an interview with the DMSF’s Campus Ministry in-charge, Ms. Criselda Castro. “The campus ministry has prepared a spiritual formation program, but the students find it difficult in availing them due to their tight schedule.” It is being hoped that in the future, a program that suits their schedule will be offered them.

As of this writing, there are about 1,000 Indian medical students enrolled at the DMSF.

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