Bansbari Road, Maharajgunj, KTM

Success Stories – Ella Gardiner

February 27, 2024

Hi, I’m Ella from London, and I have had the privilege of volunteering with AMKAS Nepal. My volunteering journey with AMKAS has been truly enlightening and being part of this charity has allowed me to learn about the incredible resilience of Nepali women migrants. I feel a deep commitment to sharing their stories, highlighting both the positive and challenging aspects, emphasising the importance of AMKAS’s work and addressing crucial issues such as wage theft.

Case number AKS 461

AKS 461’s journey from a humble upbringing to overcoming adversity is a testament to her resilience. Growing up in a lower middle-class family, AKS 461 overcame early obstacles by taking on household tasks that limited her education. Despite marrying young, she made the choice to find employment in Dubai in pursuit of a brighter future for her daughter.

Unfortunately, her aspirations were crushed when she encountered difficulties during her time in Dubai, including wage theft and employment challenges. Unfulfilled promises, communication issues with a manpower agency, and a dispute with her supervisor led to her suspension during the COVID-19 crisis, leaving her jobless for four months without any compensation. Nonetheless, AKS 461’s resilience prompted her to seek help from the Nepal Embassy for her return. AMKAS Nepal played a crucial role in ensuring her safe journey home by organising PCR tests, quarantine arrangements, and securing travel expenses.

This success story emphasises the imperative for improved recruitment practices. The introduction of government employment service centres aims to enhance transparency, accountability, and systematic monitoring in the recruitment process. AKS 461’s journey underlines the collective effort needed to support individuals facing challenges in realising better opportunities abroad, particularly addressing issues like wage theft.

Case number AKS 1025

AKS 1025 faced severe challenges in her marital life, leading her to escape abuse and find solace with her parents. Her aspirations for a better life took a turn when she travelled to Dubai for foreign employment, arranged by her sister-in-law, became a nightmare of abuse and confinement. Through sheer determination, AKS 1025 escaped and, with the support of fellow Nepalis and organisations, returned home without earning a penny.

In this challenging journey, AMKAS Nepal played a crucial role, providing shelter, rest, therapy, and nourishment for AKS 1025 to rebuild her life again. The joyous reunion with her family became a significant milestone in her recovery.

Despite the obstacles, including Nepal’s government restrictions on migrant workers, AKS 1025’s story embodies hope. The recent decision to ease the 2014 ban on women for low- skilled work abroad is a positive step, contributing to a safer environment for individuals like her.

However, the narrative doesn’t end here. The call to action persists. Advocating for safer migration is crucial, aiming to reduce the risk of wage theft and ensure that every worker, like AKS 1025, receives rightful rights and fair compensation for their labour.

AKS 001857 

Wage theft is a global issue. We need to champion justice, one pay cheque at a time – because behind every thriving economy are the unsung heroes who deserve their fair share. AKS 001857 is no different.

AKS 001857, born into a lower-middle-class family facing financial constraints, embarked on a remarkable journey. With limited formal education, her early years were dedicated to family support through animal rearing and farming. Married young with two sons, the burden of providing led her to seek opportunities abroad which she initially did in Kuwait for 8 years. After returning home, AKS 001857 turned to support from an agency to find her more work abroad, this time in Dubai.

She reached Dubai with promises of 8 hours of work per day and a monthly income of NRs. 40,000. However, the reality proved harsh – she worked 20-24 hours daily without proper diet or rest. Despite enduring for three months, deteriorating health forced her decision to resign. The agent demanded NRs. 2,00,000 for her return, and from her employers, she received only a month’s wages.

This harsh reality is a shared experience for numerous migrant workers who, like AKS 001857, endure inhumane treatment only to bear the additional burden of unjust fees demanded by agencies and individuals. Despite Nepal’s 2015 policy to limit recruitment fees to a maximum of Rs. 10,000, the ongoing challenges persist, with migrant workers facing hidden costs and inaccurate reporting by recruitment agencies.

The introduction by the government for a “no recruitment fee” principle is only the start. It’s time to advocate for meaningful changes that prioritise the well-being and rights of every worker, shaping a future where success stories don’t come at the cost of exploitation and

hardship.

AKS 001868

Originating in the Dolakha district, AKS 001868’s educational path was restricted to the 5th grade due to financial constraints. After relocating to Kathmandu for job opportunities, she ventured into foreign employment, spending approximately six months in each of the four countries she worked in on visit visas.

In her latest venture in Bahrain as a waiter, with a promised monthly pay of 1100 USD, challenges arose when she had to give 1500 USD to the recruitment agency, plus her plane fare, after receiving her first pay cheque. Despite seven months of hard work, her employers refused to pay the full amount owed, only providing 1500 USD, equivalent to 40 days of work. Attempts to discuss this led to severe assault, including damage to her iPhone, compelling her to cover the cost of her return ticket.

Despite hardships, AKS 001868’s story symbolises success through resilience, highlighting her determination and strength in navigating challenges abroad. This narrative underlies the need for ongoing advocacy, ensuring fair treatment, accurate reporting of fees, and the protection of workers’ rights in international labour migration. In the face of adversity, AKS 001868 stands as a testament to the potential for positive change in migrant workers’ experiences.

Aligned with CEDAW’s principles, particularly Article 24, guaranteeing safe and voluntary returns for women migrants, we recommend efforts to enforce and monitor these provisions. This involves raising awareness, strengthening legal frameworks, and fostering international cooperation to safeguard the rights of migrant workers. Together, we can strive for a future where stories like AKS 001868’s inspire progress toward fair and just treatment for all

migrant workers.

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