NEPAL / MIGRANT WOMEN’S RIGHTS

Preview Language:   Original
01-Jan-2010 00:06:21
Almost half a million women working overseas each year are from Nepal. The money they send home is supporting their families but sometimes the women are cruelly exploited. UNTV

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STORY: NEPAL / MIGRANT WOMEN RIGHTS
TRT: 6.21
SOURCE: 21ST CENTURY / STAR WORLD MEDIA / UAE MISSION TO THE UNITED NATIONS
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NEPALI / NATS

DATELINE: OCTOBER 2009, NEPAL

SHOTLIST:

OCTOBER 2009, SOUTH EASTERN NEPAL

1. Wide shot, woman sounding bells at the Pindeswar Temple
2. Med shot, bells in ceiling
3. Various shots, women in temple preying to
4. Med shot, Bijaya enters temple and sounds bell
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Bijaya Rai Shreshta, teacher:
“I don’t think I would have been the main breadwinner if I had not gone for foreign employment.”
6. Various shots, Bijaya with school girls

PHOTO STILLS – BIJAYA HANDOVER

7. Various shots, photos of Bijaya and her sons

OCTOBER 2009, SOUTH EASTERN NEPAL

8. SOUNDBITE (English) Bijaya Rai Shreshta, teacher:
“My dream was to educate my sons in a good school. I think I have fulfilled my dream because I could educate my sons in an English-medium school. And now they are doing good.”
9. Med shot, crowd of people at airport
10. Wide shot, city scene
11. Med shot, hands handing over money in bank counter
12. Med shot, Bijaya having dinner at her mother-in-law’s
13. SOUNDBITE (English) Bijaya Rai Shreshta, teacher:
“My mother in law has said that she’s proud of me, and even she said that you are my best daughter-in-law.”

PHOTO STILLS – BIJAYA HANDOVER

14. Zoom in, photo of Bijaya and family

OCTOBER 2009, SOUTH EASTERN NEPAL

15. SOUNDBITE (English) Bijaya Rai Shreshta, teacher:
“When I think of the day I left my youngest son in the airport, I still feel bad. It was not my choice to migrate. I had to go there for the sake of my sons.”
16. Wide shot, security cue in airport

PHOTO STILLS – BIJAYA HANDOVER

17. Zoom in, young boy in picture

OCTOBER 2009, SOUTH EASTERN NEPAL

18. SOUNDBITE (English) Bijaya Rai Shreshta, teacher:
“My youngest son didn’t want to talk to us on the phone because he was angry.”
19. Various shots, Bijaya driving in car on muddy grounds
20. Wide shot, village traffic
21. Med shot, women washing their hair
22. Wide shot, women washing clothes in well
23. SOUNDBITE (English) Bijaya Rai Shreshta, teacher:
“Most of our women workers, women, are illiterate. So they have no choices.”
24. Close up, Bijaya’s profile speaking in a woman’s meeting
25. Various shots, womens meeting
26. Wide shot, motorcycle speeding up hill in a rural village
27. Various shots, Usha’s in the village
28. Various shots, Usha at home qweaving
29. SOUNDBITE (Nepali), Usha Rai, villager:
“He has never sent a cent.”
30. Various shots, Usha walking

FILE - UAE MISSION TO THE UNITED NATIONS – ARCHIVAL FOOTAGE OF DUBAI

31. Various shots, Dubai

OCTOBER 2009, SOUTH EASTERN NEPAL

32. Med shot, Usha cutting tree branches

FILE - STAR WORLD MEDIA – ARCHIVAL FOOTAGE OF DUBAI

33. Various shots, Dubai

OCTOBER 2009, SOUTH EASTERN NEPAL

34. SOUNDBITE (Nepali), Usha Rai, villager:
“I didn’t know whether I should eat with that money or educate my children with it or pay off my debts. I was panic stricken.”
33. Close up, pan with beans being stirred
34. Close up, Usha with her children in the kitchen
35. Wide shot, Usha stepping out of her home
36. Med shot, Rajiv reading
37. Wide shot, Usha weaving
38. SOUNDBITE (Nepali), Usha Rai, villager:
“I don’t know what to say - I have to say that I can to provide a ray of hope. But I don’t know how I will educate him.’

FILE – DATE UNKNOWN - STAR WORLD MEDIA - POURAKHI ORGANIZATION MEETING

39. Various shots, women meeting in progress

OCTOBER 2009, SOUTH EASTERN NEPAL

40. Various shots, people walking in the city
41. SOUNDBITE (English) Sharu Josh, UNIFEM:
“These women proved themselves, they are contributors, they are economic actors, they have strengthened household economy as well as national economy.”
42. Zoom in, Sharu in her office
43. Various shots, Mohan in his office
44. Med shot, Usha wearing her scarf
45.SOUNDBITE (Nepali) Mohan Krishna Sapkota, Director, New Nepali Department of Foreign Employment:
“The government provides them with a compensation and recovery package of 25-40% of their investments.”
46. Close up, Usha at home
47. Wide shot, Bijaya and Usha at her door
48. SOUNDBITE (English) Bijaya Rai Shreshta, teacher:
“We have to fight for our rights. Migrant women workers also have their rights. There is a future, but it will take time…”
49. Wide shot, Bijaya at Usha’s door


STORYLINE:

Pindeswar Temple in south-eastern Nepal. Women pray to the Hindu god, Shiva, to protect those who provide for their families. Traditionally, this has always been the husbands, many of whom work abroad sending money for their wives back home. But that is changing.

Bijaya Rai Shreshta’s husband is now unemployed and it is she who provides for the family.

SOUNDBITE (English) Bijaya Rai Shreshta, teacher:
“I don’t think I would have been the main breadwinner if I had not gone for foreign employment.”

Bijaya had been working as a school teacher but her wages were low. She left Nepal and went to work in Japan for 2 years. Her earnings there helped fulfil her lifelong wish.

SOUNDBITE (English) Bijaya Rai Shreshta, teacher:
“My dream was to educate my sons in a good school. I think I have fulfilled my dream because I could educate my sons in an English-medium school. And now they are doing good.”

Like an estimated 420,000 Nepali women currently working abroad, Bijaya sent her earnings home making a large contribution to the family finances.

And for Bijaya there was another benefit new status with her in-laws. Once she was confined to the kitchen, and now she’s treated as an honored guest.

SOUNDBITE (English) Bijaya Rai Shreshta, teacher:
“My mother in law has said that she’s proud of me, and even she said that you are my best daughter-in-law”

Although the personal rewards can be great, so can the costs.

SOUNDBITE (English) Bijaya Rai Shreshta, teacher:
“When I think of the day I left my youngest son in the airport, I still feel bad. It was not my choice to migrate. I had to go there for the sake of my sons.”

It was particularly hard on her six year old.

SOUNDBITE (English) Bijaya Rai Shreshta, teacher:
“My youngest son didn’t want to talk to us on the phone because he was angry.”

Despite the huge personal sacrifices, Bijaya was one of the lucky ones. Her education helped her avoid the exploitation that too many Nepali women migrant workers fall prey to.

SOUNDBITE (English) Bijaya Rai Shreshta, teacher:
“Most of our women workers are illiterate. So they have no choices.”

And so Bijaya decided to do something about it. With other returned migrants, she co-founded Pourakhi, an organization promoting safe and fair migration for all women.

And in rural Nepal, the scarcity of jobs locally forces many women to seek work abroad.

Women like Usha Rai.

A poor illiterate woman from a village, forty two year old Usha lived in one room with her two teenage children, waiting for money to arrive from her husband abroad in Kuwait.

SOUNDBITE (Nepali), Usha Rai, villager:
“He has never sent a cent.”

Desperate and lured by promises of financial rewards she sought work abroad in the Gulf.

With a booming economy, the region’s a magnet for migrants from all over the world.

But to finance her travel, Usha had to borrow the colossal sum of almost one thousand dollars, more than three times the average annual income. She had to put up her only possession, her land, as collateral. Then once in the Gulf, the promised wages as a cleaner were barely enough to live on.

SOUNDBITE (Nepali), Usha Rai, villager:
“I didn’t know whether I should eat with that money or educate my children with it or pay off my debts. I was panic stricken.”

After 11 months, the company Usha worked for closed down and she had to return to Nepal. Now unemployed she’s overwhelmed by debt unable to buy back her land. Her son, Rajev, questions whether she will be able to pay for his schooling.

SOUNDBITE (Nepali), Usha Rai, villager:
“I don’t know what to say - I have to say that I CAN to provide a ray of hope. But I don’t know how I will educate him.”

To protect women migrant workers like Usha from exploitation, Pourakhi, and other like-minded organizations, supported by the United Nations Fund for women, UNIFEM, lobbied the government for years.

Finally, in 2007, their efforts paid off. The government of Nepal introduced the innovative new Foreign Employment Act which specifically protects both the economic and social rights of women who go abroad to work.

SOUNDBITE (English) Sharu Josh, UNIFEM:
“These women proved themselves, they are contributors, they are economic actors, they have strengthened household economy as well as national economy.”

Sharu Josh works with UNIFEM in Nepal.

SOUNDBITE (English) Sharu Josh, UNIFEM:
“Our main priorities now are the legal protection of women migrant worker.”

Women like Usha who lost their jobs abroad can now be compensated for their initial costs of travel.

Mohan Krishna Sapkota is Director of the new Nepali Department of Foreign Employment, responsible for the new law.

SOUNDBITE (Nepali) Mohan Krishna Sapkota, Director, New Nepali Department of Foreign Employment:
“The government provides them with a compensation and recovery package of 25-40% of their investments.”

Usha with Pourakhi’s help, is now trying to claim compensation. And Bijaya, although optimistic about the future, believes this is just the beginning.

SOUNDBITE (English) Bijaya Rai Shreshta, teacher:
“We have to fight for our rights. Migrant women workers also have their rights. There is a future, but it will take time.”
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U100101a