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Filipino priest Father Joy opened their place for migrant workers in Taiwan

Maryknoll Father Joyalito Tajonera offers migrant workers who come to Ugnayan a home away from home as well as spiritual support and hope for the future.

"One of the first things I did was to look for a place, because I know that the Filipinos don't have a place of their own," Father Joy told Central News Agency.

For thousands of migrant workers the shelter called Ugnayan is a safe haven in a sometimes-hostile land.

"Having a safe in-door space where migrant workers can pray, attend mass, relax, learn new skills and find sanctuary in times of distress meant that they won't have to be on the streets on their days off," Father Joy added.

The Ugnayan shelters in the cities of Taichung and Taipei are part of a broader migrant ministry run by volunteers and Father Tajonera. Ugnayan also shelters people who have been trafficked.

Ugnayan is used for distressed migrant workers, a training center to gain vocational skills, advocacy work to ensure the workers wellbeing and sacramental ministry offering masses where Filipino migrants can practice their Catholic faith.

"The migrant worker becomes a commodity (in Taiwan), but that is not how we should treat people. We should treat people with dignity and respect, because all of us are the same, whether we are rich or poor, Christians or not, Taiwanese, immigrants or new immigrants," Father Joy said.


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