“I went from house to house. Do you have work? Do you have work? That’s how I got work”.
“Here, it’s not like your home. But despite what you feel inside you have to appear happy, for the kids.”
All over the world, people are on the move: in search of work and better lives, and also fleeing political instability, conflicts and violence. Almost half of the estimated 232 million migrants in the world are women. Nepal and India enjoy special relations due to deep-rooted socio-cultural, economic ties and political and geographical factors. With open borders and non-restrictive visa regimes, the number of Nepal-born people has steadily risen over the years. Nepali men and women have historically migrated to India in search of work and better prospects. Some women migrate with their families, some alone. Who are these women? What are their dreams? How do they negotiate challenges in a new land?
We invite you to an audio and visual exhibition to listen to a selection of narratives of Nepali women migrants working in different parts of India. Their stories tell of the legal, political and socio-economic complexities of migration. They also speak about the daily struggles and triumphs, changing cultures and the complex emotional bonds that develop between one’s country of birth and an alien land that sometimes becomes home. Thirty stories were recorded in Bardiya, Ilam, Jhapa, Mahendranagar and Morang in Nepal and Mumbai and Bangalore in India.
The documentation of the life stories of these women migrants is intended not only to give an identity and a voice to the workers and their families, but also to contribute to a textual, audio and visual archive. The project, through its online portal and exhibitions, presents the human dimension of migration and migrants’ rights. It also provides an additional platform for amplifying advocacy concerns and promoting linkages amongst civil society groups.
The project was implemented by The Hri Institute for Southasian Research and Exchange, a unit of The Southasia Trust, in the context of DanChurchAid’s (DCA) Migrants’ Rights Programme in South and Southeast Asia, with implementation support from WOREC and POURAKHI, and with funding support from DCA and Stichting Rotterdam. The Madan Puraskar Pustakalaya, Kathmandu provided curatorial support.
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