Urban/rural migration or South-South migration workshop

The Urban/rural migration or South-South migration is taking place mostly in Asian and Latin American regions. We are debating case studies on Lebanon, Sri-Lanka and Nicaragua. There was an overwhelming number (around 160.000) of migrants moving from Sri Lanka to Lebanon during the civil war. The main reasons of this movement are the violation of human rights, in particular of women rights, abuses and the women’s need to provide for their families and educate their children. There are two interesting aspects of this movement: migrants and free lancers. Migrant women usually work as domestic workers and are isolated, are attached to a family, while freelancers enter Lebanon on a work contract and enjoy many freedoms. The state does not recognize migrants if they do not have a work contract, so the “insiders” are not registered anywhere, demographically they do not exist . We could characterize this comparison in terms of inside-outside concept: house workers are inside and have no freedom, as freelancers who make their own choices. The insiders have no time for themselves; they totally depend on the employer’s program and desires.  Among the indicators of social independence of women migrants we note the following: they are going out, have girlfriends and even boyfriends, are allowed to smoke, make choices – they can change their employer and live alone.  As a total concept, they testified they feel a transformation in themselves as individuals.

Taking this into account the  freelancer’s definition of Sri Lankan migrants to Lebanon: women who work for more that one employer, who are not attached and who pay their residence tax. This implies the notion of Self, of independence, which is remarkable compared to migrants status from other regions. The only tradeoff is the insecurity of finding work, yet there are some underground social networks which help the unemployed migrants and offer some support in cases of abuses.

 Among the participants at this workshop we mention LINA ABOU-HABIB, Collective for Research and Training-Action (CRTD.A), Lebanon, SANDRA RAMOS Movement of Working and Unemployed Women, Nicaragua, NATALIA RIBAS-MATEOS, Universidad de A Coruña, Spain, Jackie Pollock from MAP Foundation, Liz Cooke, Oxfam.

Monica Sonia and Ana Maria Oteanu, participant at the worshop 4 , in the second day of the Conference

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