I landed with expectations and got consumed with fear….a tale of many new migrants

Change can be very daunting; especially when it is a result of external factors and not initiated by yourself. Yet, being the resilient and adaptable creatures we are we use our skills and experiences to make sense of the change. I sometimes meet young women from  small villages from Kashmir now living in a busy metropolis like London. They epitomise the perfect example of cultural adaptation. The transformations they have to go through to make a place for themselves in a modern country where women have a very different status from what they grew up believing; and the parental challenges they face are just few of the aspects of their huge struggles. Similarly young men and women coming to modern western countries from the developing world full of dreams and fired with enthusiasm in search of jobs often see themselves fall prey to dejection, loneliness and despair. They come with a mind set of giving their best, working very hard, often compromising on the life styles they are used to back home and bearing the separation of loved ones but even all these sacrifices are not enough to help them in their new country of choice. They are coping with so many changes in life at once- an onslaught of new information; dealing with a foreign culture; a different work culture having to interact with people who think and act differently than they are used to. Sounds tough… yet, the road is never too bleak. This transition period is a learning curve that polishes them, slowly they gain confidence and once they feel they ‘belong’ they start contributing as citizens. From ‘feeling lost‘ to ‘belonging‘ is a journey that varies for each individual.

This journey becomes bearable when you have a friend, a mentor or a coach to guide you. Have you ever felt lost? When ? How did you cope?

Refugees – How do you look upon them?

June 20 is marked as the UN Day for Refugees. Most people are know about refugees but seldom do people know the full story. What people know is mostly fed to them by the media. We are led to believe that the world is now dealing with a refugee crisis, the fact is that Refugees and asylum seekers constitute roughly 10 per cent of all international migrants

There are an estimated 285 million international migrants who comprise of 3.4 percent of the world’s population. Half of these are women. Female migrants outnumber male migrants in the North, whereas male migrants outnumber female migrants in the South.

Half of this increase took place in countries of the developed regions (the “North”), while the other half took place in the developing regions (the “South”).

We need a shift in the way we see migrants,unfortunately the media mostly portrays them as destitute persons who are a burden on the local resources and social services. The fact is migrants make significant contributions to both their host and home countries. 48% of these migrants are women who send a higher percentage of their earnings back home.  However this positive growth is not reflected because of political reasons and penalising asylum policies,  Global goals targets include Protecting labour rights, Facilitate orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration and mobility of people, reduce costs of migrant remittances , End abuse, exploitation, trafficking

Migration is a powerful poverty reduction tool, which can contribute to the achievement of the SDGs

Labour migration can reduce poverty for migrants themselves, their families, and their origin and host countries.

Migrants and their families benefitfrom increased income and knowledge, which allows them to spend more on basic needs, access education and health services, and make investments – directly impacting SDG 1, SDG 3 and SDG 4.

For female migrants, increased economic resources can improve their autonomy and socioeconomicstatus, impacting SDG 5.

SDG targets related to migration

To reap the positive effects of migration we need to

SDG 8.8:Protectlabourrights and promote safe and secure working environments for all workers, including migrant workers, in particular women migrants, and those in precarious employment.

 

10.7: Facilitate orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration and mobilityof people, including through the implementation of planned and well-managed migration policies. ……..Humanitarian visas

 

10.c: By 2030, reduceto less than 3% the transactioncosts of migrant remittancesand eliminate remittance corridors with costs higher than 5%.

 

SDG 16.2:End abuse,exploitation,traffickingand all forms of violence against and torture of children.

 

SDG 17.18:By 2020, enhance capacity building support to developing countries, including for Least Developed Countries (LCDs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS)……………Support funding to UN agencies

 

Ref: https://www.odi.org/publications/10913-migration-and-2030-agenda-sustainable-development

 

What can we do to change the narrative?

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