Wednesday, August 29, 2007

When there is no Choice....

Last week while I was driving back home from work, I heard an interview with Nisha Varia on NPR. Nisha Varia is a researcher with the Human Rights watch and I was not able to get the transcript of the interview on NPR, but her talk was centered around the abuse of Domestic Workers. This article, though not from NPR is on the same lines of her talk.

What touched me most was when asked why do these women workers choose to work abroad(in this case they were talking of Saudi Arabia which is a large employer of domestic workers) inspite of knowing the horror stories, she said that many of them cry to leave behind their children and family whom they might not see again for a long time but they do it to provide their children with food and basic amenities.

And I thought while we discuss our choices of staying at home or working outside let us take a glance at those millions of female migrant workers, many of whom are mothers, who work not because they have a choice but because they want to bring food to the table

"Human Rights Watch said that the numbers of women migrants has increased significantly over the last three decades, and they now comprise approximately half of the estimated 200 million migrants worldwide. The feminization of labor migration is particularly pronounced in the Philippines, Indonesia and Sri Lanka, where national-level estimates indicate that women comprise 60-75 percent of legal migrants, many of whom are employed as domestic workers in the Middle East and Asia. " (Source here)

Inspite of the abuse these women turn to work as domestic help to earn money and to provide their children with a better life

Millions of women and girls turn to domestic work as one of the few economic opportunities available to them,” said Varia. “Abuses often take place in private homes and are totally hidden from the public eye.”

This is just an example, there are millions of mothers out there who work not to buy a BMW but to buy basic food for their children.

Do you think we as a community could do anything for them ? Please drop in your suggestions or if you are associated with any such organisation and have a clue as how someone could help let us know.

We at least have a choice and let's be grateful for that.


RJ said...

This is one place I have contribured in the past :

I think they were on Oprah sometime back, that's how I know. They had heartbreaking stories of the women in Darfur.

GettingThereNow said...

Sandeepa, that's some food for thought indeed! Really, our discussions on why we work or stay at home sound so trivial when one hears of those mothers who work under inhuman circumstances just to put food on the table.

indosungod said...

Sandeepa, we all sure need a dose of reality now and then. I was reading about the plight of nannies in some of the very affluent zipcodes in the USA, similar to what you describe they leave behind their kids and family in the hopes of providing them a better life.

It really is important to keep things in perspective and be thankful and appreciate what we take for granted.

Kay said...

There are a few more organizations - the name escapes me right now.. south Indian actresses suhasini and revathi were a big part of those organisations.. a decade back. There's one in UK too. If/when I find the names, I'll post them here. we ca help through them.

We women have a choice - there are lots - normal working women in US and other countries and India, who don't have a choice. Even worse are the situations like this where they are forced to work somewhere away from their families just to provide them basics...but what kills me are those women who give up everything even if to work under inhuman conditions and going through abuse and don't speak up because their family depends on the money they send home... it's sad!

Kavitha said...

Kay, are you talking about "the banyan" which is for homeless women who are mentally ill. - this is one organization which I have been supporting for quite a while and I do know that some actresses were a part of it too. Or, if its something else that you referring to, then ignore my comment.

Its a real pity to hear about women who work under cruel/violent circumstances while we get to talk about our choices as to whether to stay home or work outside the home.

Kay said...

No Kavitha, it had a very Indian name.. My brain stores a zillion useless facts but can't seem to remember this one.

Kodi's Mom said...

you know when you posted your take on this issue, you did say this in one of your lines..."at least we have a choice". and that struck a chord with me. that day, I spent my drive home thinking abt how women folk in the farm leave their children elsewhere and go to work. some strap their babies to their back. would you blame them for 'choosing their career'? and I thanked the heavens for the position I am in - it is blessed compared to theirs - and to talk about it more would be like a rich guy flaunting his wealth. so I chose not to post this month.

I guess you could consider this post-long comment as my contribution ;)

mnamma said...

Like you said in your finishing sentence we must be grateful that we have a choice. Some of the stories that we hear on NPR really is heart-rending particularly when it is about Moms in particular.