Supporting Seafarers & Their Families
Seafarers’ contracts are on average nine months and may be extended longer, for officers three to four months is more usual. It is important to prepare for these long periods of separation from loved ones and to understand that seafarers can feel isolated on board their ships.
Connectivity to the internet depends on a number of factors including the type of ship, and the employer, so it may not always be possible to contact home or to receive communications from home as quickly as you might imagine. Long periods spent between ports on certain routes also impacts on the frequency of communication.
Seafaring is considered a good profession and offers opportunities to earn more money than might not be possible if the seafarer is from a poorer or financially deprived area of the world. It is an opportunity to provide a better life for the family, education for the children and save for a business for the future. Often seafarers need to support an extended family, which can also put additional pressures on him.
Seafarers’ wives, husbands or partners and parents often encounter problems at home which they need to solve themselves, without the support of their seafaring partner. Managing long distance relationships is also another challenge faced, as well as managing the finances and the challenges of repeat requests for money from the wider family.
The Mission to Seafarers is here to help, providing help and advice for seafarer’s wives, partners and wider families members on a wide variety of issues. Please do contact us, we are here to help you.
Family Support Network in the Philippines
Our Family Support Network in the Philippines is an active community reaching across nine Chapters with representatives available to help.
As part of this, we have developed four core offerings. These are:
- WeCare – Family Support Network – Delivers workshops and mentoring to seafarers and their family members covering a wide variety of salient topics including marriage guidance, healthy living and mental health;
- WeCare – Social Wellbeing Programme – Delivers training to families and seafarers to help educate them about the responsible use of social communications. This can include a focus on more sensitive contact communications in light of the long periods away from home;
- WeCare – Financial Wellbeing Programme – Delivers training on money management to seafarers and their families, as well as helping to identify the link between money problems and mental health;
- Mission to Seafarers Cadet Programme – Delivers support to ten cadets at the MMMA maritime college to help prepare them for a life at sea.
Our Family Support Network has gone from strength to strength since being launched in May 2019, and now supports over 3,000 seafarer’s families across nine Chapters of the Philippines. There are plans to roll the same service out for seafarers’ families across other regions in the near future including India.
This programme is currently being run by our Country Manager Lala Tolentino out of our office facilities in the Philippines. Lala works closely with Project Manager Thomas O’Hare who is based back at our London HQ.
Our services are delivered to the beneficiaries – families and communities – for free.
Our Family Support Service costs £66,000 per annum to run and we invite companies or individuals to sponsor this project.
Making a Contribution
If you are running a company in the maritime industry and would like to take advantage of our Family Support Network for your own seafarers then we would be more than happy to discuss this with you. Perhaps your company is in a position where:
- You cannot provide this service to your seafarers in-house;
- You want to improve the wellbeing and mental health of your crew/s;
- You wish to support seafarers’ families in a cost effective manner
- You want to improve crew retention rates.
Equally, it could be the case that you would like to align your company with a charity in order to achieve a Corporate Social Responsibility objective.
Regardless of the reason or intended contribution, we will work with you to help you derive the benefits that you need from the programme.
Depending on the level of support your company offers, we would be happy to discuss recognising your donation via methods such as:
- Issuing a press release
- Providing acknowledgement on our website;
- Providing acknowledgement via a social media posts
- Providing insight reports, including case studies on families who have been helped by the programme;
- Issuing a suitable award/certificate for display at your company HQ;
- Providing photography for internal and external communications;
- Arranging a visit to the family support project in Manila
At the current time, The Mission to Seafarers is committed to helping seafarers and their families through the COVID-19 epidemic.
This includes our ‘Chat to a Chaplain’ digital service which can be reached from anywhere in the world in addition to assisting the government in Manila in the transportation of seafarers to their homes after a period of isolation. We have also been providing food to seafarers during these periods.
If you are a seafarer or part of seafarer’s family and are in need of support at this time, then please do not hesitate to contact our Project Manager Thomas O’Hare ([email protected]) or our Country Manager Lala Tolentino ([email protected])