Tag Archives: female face of migration

World Refugee Day: Algeria at the crossroads

Sr Laurence of Caritas Algeria helps refugees and migrants get access to healthcare, education and counselling. Photo by Caritas Algeria.

To mark World Refugee Day on 20 June, we spoke with Sr. Laurence of Caritas Algeria.

Refugees and migrants come to Algeria on their journey from poorer African countries to cross the Mediterranean into Europe, but they also now come there as a final destination itself. Algerians too head north in search of opportunities unavailable at home.

“Few of the migrants want to stay here,” said Sr Laurence, MSOLA. , who works on migration issues for Caritas Algeria. “They will tell you what they need is fast money to go to Europe at all costs. Continue reading

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Filed under Advocacy, Algeria, Middle East & North Africa, Migration, Refugees

Home alone in Nepal

Schoolchildren in the Bardiya district of western Nepal. Many of their parents are working overseas. Photo: Laura Sheahen/Caritas

By Laura Sheahen

“Where’s your mother?” Usually when you ask small children this question, the answer is predictable: At home. At the market. At work, a few kilometres or a drive away.

In villages of Nepal, a deeply impoverished country on India’s northeast border, children answer differently. “In Kuwait.” “In Saudi.” “She’s in a foreign country.”

Mahesh Upadhaya is older—he’s 17. “My mother went to Saudi Arabia for two years. I was 15 when she left,” says Mahesh, who lives in an area of western Nepal called Bardiya. “When my mother wasn’t here, I couldn’t go to school. I had to do chores and work in the fields.” Mahesh’s father is deaf, and as the oldest of five children, Mahesh had to help the family get by until his mother began sending home the money she earned as a maid for a Saudi Arabian family. About 200,000 Nepali women like his mother have gone abroad, usually to be live-in housemaids in Gulf countries. Some are treated well. Some aren’t. Continue reading

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Filed under Advocacy, Asia, Migration, Nepal, Trafficking, Women

Domestic worker abuse: Battered, bruised but back in Nepal

Twenty-four-year old Damber Kumari Gurung had left her village in Nepal for Saudi Arabia to work as a maid. Now she is back in Nepal after suffering abuse. Photo by Katie Orlinsky/Caritas 2012

By Laura Sheahen,

“When I got home, my family saw my condition and cried.”

Twenty-four-year old Damber Kumari Gurung had left her village in Nepal for Saudi Arabia to work as a maid. More than a year later, she came back covered with bruises.

She’d worked long hours in a private Saudi home, getting about four hours of sleep each night as she struggled to keep up with the cooking, cleaning and washing. The family she worked for rarely paid her, and when she asked for her salary, they sent her back to the employment agents in Riyadh.

She can’t say exactly what happened next. She remembers fighting back when they tried to strip her, and ripping one of the agent’s shirts. When she arrived at the airport in Kathmandu, Nepal’s capital, she was black and blue. “I was crying bitterly. People surrounded me,” she says.

A woman at the airport asked if she needed help. Though afraid the woman might exploit her as well, Damber Kumari went with her. It turned out that the woman worked for Porukhi, an organisation that helps migrant women. Learning that the girl was from an area of eastern Nepal called Damak, Porukhi called Caritas.
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Filed under Advocacy, Asia, Domestic servitude, Labor exploitation, Migration, Nepal, Women

Caritas migration conference: different worlds

Anna Galdo from Caritas Roma and Michelle Hough from Caritas Internationalis General Secretariat in Senegal.

The two worlds of migration

By Michelle Hough, Caritas communications officer

I’ve just been to Senegal, I live in Rome and I come from England. And today I’m in Casablanca, where I’ve stopped off for a couple of days on my way back from Caritas’s Female Face of Migration conference in Senegal.

Zara, a Moroccan woman I know in Rome, is actually from Casablanca. However, she’s not been able to come here – to her home – for five years. She’d been studying and working hard for a family in Rome. The money she was earning wasn’t enough to go back home with her children for a holiday.

When I saw Zara last summer she was about to lose her job. This would put at risk her ability to stay in Italy. Without a job, she would eventually lose her permit to stay. That would mean living undocumented and in fear of being caught by the police. If she ever tried to go back home to Casablanca, once she got beyond Italy’s borders, she wouldn’t be let back in. But she wouldn’t go back by choice, as she had built a life in Italy.

Zara’s children have been raised in Italy, they speak Italian and not Arabic, they go to Italian schools, and yet they are not allowed Italian citizenship. They will have the pain of living in a country and yet never really belonging there. And yet, if their mother does lose her right to stay in Italy and they are deported back to Morocco, the children won’t belong there either. Continue reading

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Filed under Advocacy, Africa, Migration, Senegal, Women

Senegal migration conference: Filipinos in search of security

By Merlie “Milet” B. Mendoza, advisor to Caritas Manila

Migration is a key issue in my country. Filipino nurses, caregivers, domestic helpers, entertainers, engineers, teachers and construction workers are present in all corners of the globe. There are several million documented overseas Filipino workers.

Even if the phenomenon has, on the one hand, tremendously improved the economic well-being of many Filipinos as well as the country; on the other hand, it has resulted in a depressing social hazard. Countless mothers have left their children to go work abroad, poor women are taken advantage of and often become victims of exploitation, violence and sexual slavery. Continue reading

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Filed under Advocacy, Africa, Asia, Migration, Philippines, Senegal, Women