From Our Eyes: Migrant Reflection
The idea for From our Eyes: Migrant Reflection was born at the workshop on Migration Trends and Responses in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) and Beyond, held on 31 August 2010 in Chiang Mai, and co-organised by MMN, MAP Foundation, and the Asian Migrant Centre. At the workshop, two migrant worker leaders presented on the impacts of policy changes on migrant lives. Their reflections were insightful and informative, and highlighted the largely untapped value of migrant contributions to policy making. Inspired by the presentations of the migrant leaders, MMN, in collaboration with members of the migrant community, decided to conduct this initiative to record further analyses and perspectives of migrants on changes over the past decade. Among those interviewed were migrants who worked in the garment, construction, agriculture, and fishery industries, as well as sex, domestic, and child workers, and a shelterless migrant. The publication From Our Eyes: Mekong Migrant Reflections 2000-2012 was released in 2012 at a launch in Bangkok, Thailand.
- Liz Hilton and the team from EMPOWER Foundation for providing an NGO reflection and interviewing migrants;
- Satien Than Phrom, Sutthichai Rerkyarmdee, and the team from Foundation for AIDS Rights (FAR) for providing an NGO reflection and interviewing migrants;
- Po Po and the team from Foundation for Education and Development (FED) for providing an NGO reflection and interviewing migrants;
- Jackie Pollock and the team from MAP Foundation for providing an NGO reflection and interviewing migrants;
- Brahm Press and the team from Raks Thai Foundation for interviewing Migrants;
- Sinav Pen and the team from Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC) for interviewing migrants;
- Sopheap Soung and the team from Cambodian Women’s Crisis Centre (CWCC), for interviewing migrants;
- Mom Sokchar, Vichuta Ly and the team from Legal Support for Children and Women (LSCW), for providing an NGO reflection;
- Reiko Harima, MMN Regional Coordinator, and Noriko Morita, MMN Information Officer, for coordinating the project and editing;
- Hla Myat Moore and Jay Kerr for arranging the reflections into narrative style;
- Pranom Somwong, MMN Advocacy Convenor, for verifying information and writing box articles;
- Omsin Boonlert, MMN Research and Advocacy Officer for translating interviews and drafting box articles;
- Laura Padgett for drafting box articles;
- Hannah Withers, MMN Project Officer, and Jessica Marsh, MMN Project Officer, for editing;
- Thu Do, for assisting in drafting box articles and editing;
- Jamey Silveira for producing the map; and
- Photographer John Hulme for providing several photographs
In October 2010, MMN organised a consultation meeting in Bangkok, where project partners collectively developed an implementation methodology. Project partners assisted in contacting individuals who had lived as migrant workers for at least 10 years, and who were willing to share their stories and reflections, and to contribute to producing and promoting this book. Among those interviewed were migrants who worked in the garment, construction, agriculture, and fishery industries, as well as sex, domestic, and child workers, and a shelterless migrant.
Between the end of 2010 and April 2011, in-depth analysis of interviews and discussions with migrant respondents was conducted, covering topics including: personal background; high and low points in past decade; education and vocational training; health insurance and medical check-ups; pre-departure processes; access to government support; personal identification documentation and travel documentation; rights in the workplace; safety at work and training; rights in society (movement, cultural, property, housing, freedom of speech); access to justice; trafficking and smuggling; arrest, detention, and deportation; extortion; social exclusion and prejudice; process involved in returning to home country; major improvements or deterioration; worries and desires; and recommendations.
Migrant reflections were then summarised into the narrative formats in this book. Through the rich and varied experiences found herein, perceptions of policy and other changes were described from the ground level, and recommendations were made for reform. The final publication From our Eyes: Mekong Migrant Reflections 2000-2012 was launched in 2012.
On 16 August 2012, MMN and the Asian Migrant Centre co-hosted the launch of the book, From Our Eyes: Mekong Migrant Reflections: 2000 – 2012, at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand in Bangkok. Guests at the launch included migrant workers and representatives from the Thai Ministry of Labour, the Malaysian Embassy, the media, International Organization for Migration, International Labour Organization, United Nations Development Programme, and civil society. During the launch, migrants shared and reflected on their experiences working and living abroad. To learn more about the book launch, read our press release of the event.