‘SO FAR FROM HOME’
VOICES OF NEPALI WOMEN WORKERS FROM THE INFORMAL SECTOR IN INDIA
An Audio Visual Exhibition
XIXth International Oral History Conference, Bangalore
Hall No: 404
June 27 – July 1, 2016
‘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.”
During the XIXth International Oral History Conference, HRI Institute for Southasian Research and Exchange organised an audio visual exhibition titled “So Far From Home”. The exhibition presented 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.
Laxmi Murthy, Director of the Hri Institute, made a formal presentation to an audience who ranged across different disciplines of Oral History. There was a lively discussion following the presentation, and the audience seemed to be very interested in getting to know more about the migrant workers and their issues. Sarita Ramamoorthy, one of the researchers in this project, and Dipesh Khanal, Program Officer at Hri were present to answer any further questions about the project. Muhammad Thalal, a PhD Student in Australia, was the discussant assigned for this presentation.
The conference had representation of over 150 participants from all across the world including countries like Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Germany, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Spain, South Africa, The UK, The USA and many others. The exhibition was observed by these participants in addition to the public audience. Not only they were interested in knowing about the methodology of the research, but also about the issue of migration itself and the need for advocacy towards safe migration programmes. Many insightful questions surrounding the issue of migration were asked and the discussions were lively. Overall, the exhibition and the presentation were well received by the conference participants as well as the public audience.
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.