Wednesday Aug 10, 2022
Wednesday Aug 10, 2022

Returnee migrants enjoy International Women’s Day event

Event was organised by International Organisation for Migration

2021 Mar 10, 18:12, Kathmandu
Women returnee migrants taking shelter at Apravasi Mahila Kamdar Samuha celebrating Women's Day, in Kathmandu, on Sunday, March 7, 2021.

“It was a nice time to spend, keeping my distressful life aside at least for a while,” said Man Maya (name changed). A returnee migrant looking at the traditional Nepali oil lamps (deeyo) lit to mark the International Women’s Day 2021, organised by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) Nepal for the women returnee migrants taking shelter at Apravasi Mahila Kamdar Samuha (AMKAS) in Kathmandu, on March 7.

She was among other returnees who could attend the event.

Man Maya, 45 years of age, from Bardia district, Lumbini Province, arrived from Kuwait a couple of days ago after she could not tolerate the abusive behaviour from her employer. She had been there for 16 months and returned empty-handed since she was not paid her salary for months. She had managed to borrow money from her friends for her flight to home. She will stay a couple more weeks at AMKAS.

She is separated from her husband after the domestic violence from him became unbearable. She has two sons. Her elder son needs special care and is dependent on her, and the younger one has gone abroad for foreign employment since the past couple of years.

Of the 15 years she worked in foreign destinations, the latest turned out to be unsuccessful. This time, she had taken an irregular route through India to migrate. She followed the recruitment agency’s instruction and she was not aware that she was going for foreign employment without completing proper official procedure.

She does not want to go for foreign employment anymore. “I am done with foreign jobs,” she says, adding, “I hope I can find work in my own country that provides enough pay for two meals a day for me and my family.” Her past foreign jobs were not all bad though. With her past earnings she has purchased land too in her home district.

Man Maya was among the estimated over 3 million Nepali migrants working in over 100 countries. Migrants bring back financial, human and social wealth they accumulate abroad. This accumulated wealth has real potential to substantially impact the sustainable development of the country if the wealth is mainstreamed into national policies and plans. What if Man Maya could invest her past earnings into the productive sector which could generate regular income for her now?

Like Man Maya, thousands of migrants have returned home due to the COVID-19 pandemic and for other reasons, and are willing to stay back. A comprehensive gender-responsive sustainable socio-economic reintegration package targeting migrant returnee communities that creates livelihood opportunities matching migrants’ skills and need of national economy will help returnees like Man Maya to start a life in her home country. This will enable to minimise the risk of unsafe re-migration and human trafficking, and will help make migration an informed choice.

Similarly, evidences show that existing restrictions on aspirant women migrants to take up domestic works in Gulf countries in an effort to protect them from potential exploitations, do only force women to take riskier routes to migrate. Therefore, it’s high time we focus to fix the loopholes while respecting the right to mobility of everybody and make migration sector safer and dignified which works for migrants of all genders, their families, and countries of both origin and destination.

returnee migrant Kathmandu Internatioanl Women’s Day International Organisation for Migration IOM Apravasi Mahila Kamdar Samuha AMKAS Bardia Lumbini Gulf
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