Join our #LettersforMigrants Campaign!

Brunei guys

Do you care about migrant worker rights, but aren’t sure what you can do to help? Are you a migrant but feel that no one has heard your story?

 

We’ve all seen disturbing news stories about the abuse of migrant workers. How many left their homes for better lives, only to be exploited, or even trafficked, abroad. It’s a hard life to be sure, but their story shouldn’t stop at abuse.

 

If we want to make it morally unacceptable to mistreat migrants, we have to change the narrative, to show that we—people like you and me—care about them and are willing to speak out about how they’ve positively impacted our lives. At the same time, we need migrant workers to speak about their lived truths, to fill in the gaps that the media and reports may miss. We need to bring these voices together in solidarity to make real change.

 

Regardless of what country we live in, we all know migrant workers. Maybe she’s a Filipina who cleans your friend’s house, a Cambodian motorbike driver who takes you to work, a Myanmar woman who waits tables at the restaurant down the street. Maybe she’s your mom. Or maybe she’s you.

 

With the goal of uniting the voices of migrants and the public, we’ve launched a campaign called #LettersforMigrants. Simply put, we aim to build public support for migrants’ well-being, showing that they’re human beings who deserve to be treated well. Once we’ve collected several letters, we’re going to deliver them to local NGOs across Asia that work with migrant communities.

 

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Here’s how YOU can add your voice:

 

Send your letters to letters@iomx.org and we’ll post them on our Medium page.

 

Ideas for letters:
1. Personal stories if you have a connection to migration (e.g. a friend or family member who has migrated)
2. An open letter if you just want to express your support to migrant communities
3. If you are a migrant, a letter about your experience or a message to the migrant worker community

 

To make this more creative, we’re looking for:
• Short letters around 400 words + a photo of yourself holding a white piece of paper that has a short, powerful quote from your letter written on it
• Letters can be in any Asian language (bonus points if you can do this!) or English

 

And if you’re a superstar:
• An audio recording of you reading your letter OR
• A video recording (can be done with your phone) reading your letter

We all have a role to play in creating social change. Writing a letter of support is a simple, easy action you can do, and you never know how it will brighten someone’s day!

My Poem, My Voice

By Robina Navato

Robina 400px

 

I have been working here in Singapore for almost 21 years. And I can say that I am blessed enough to have worked with very good families. From my local employer of 11 years who treated me like a part of their family, to my amazing American employers. Life was not easy at first but I managed to adjust.

Unfortunately, it’s not that easy for many other domestic workers here. It breaks my heart to know their situation, how they are abused.

Seeing how many of my fellow migrant workers are mistreated motivated me to become a volunteer at HOME (Humanitarian Organization for Migrant Economics). I am part of the Help Desk, where I give advice to distressed domestic workers and help them solve problems with their employers. It is really easy for me to put myself in their shoes, to imagine what they go through. Sometimes, I get affected too, especially when I see them cry.

Witnessing our struggles, I turned to poetry to speak out against abuse. My poems became my voice. I wanted our voices to be heard.

When I started writing my first poem, “Cry of the Hidden”, it took less than a day. It is a poem about the lives of two domestic workers I’ve known. From there I wrote “Sacrifice,” which reflects my own experience. I dedicate it to all the migrant mothers who left their families with the hope of providing a better life for their children. As it turned out, this wasn’t as easy as we thought.

Life is tough for migrant domestic workers. We made a huge sacrifice in leaving our families, especially our children and we wish our employers—especially those who are parents themselves—would empathize with what we go through. We move thousands of miles away from home because we want to provide for our families too. Respect our rights.

 

Respect poem