Stories: Migration

  • In Nepal’s Towns Without Men, Women Take on Newfound Responsibility

    KATHMANDU, NEPAL – Two-and-a-half-year-old Ansuman Thatal wakes up from his nap with a start. He scans the room, and before anyone can comfort him, begins bawling: “Baba, baba, baba.” By this point, the baba, or daddy, in question – Ashok Thatal – has been away for a week. For his wife, Shova, and 7-year-old daughter, such a state...

  • Europe is Spending Billions to Convince Africans to Stay Home—and It’s Not Working

    Standing in front of a packed classroom at a school in Iruekpen, a remote farming village in southern Nigeria, Precious Owens warns teenage students about the dangers of migrating to Europe. Recruiters trick people into thinking they can get a good job overseas, she explains. “They will come and tell you they have a salon abroad,” she says....

  • Gay and Undocumented, Burmese Refugees Struggle in Thailand

    “Queer migrants” or LGBTQI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex) refugees from Myanmar – called as such because they had to leave their countries and go somewhere else to be able to live safely as themselves – have looked at Thailand as the ideal destination, with its louche, gay-friendly lifestyle. But in too many cases, in the...

  • You’re welcome to visit the longest beach in the world — unless you’re a refugee

    It was a hot Saturday in May when Bangladesh’s prime minister dipped her feet in the ocean. Sheikh Hasina was visiting the beach town of Cox’s Bazar and, like anyone else, she wanted to take a barefoot stroll. The beach runs unbroken along the Bay of Bengal for 75 miles, enough to make it the world&rsquo...

  • Who Bears the Brunt of Thailand’s Crackdown on Migrant Workers?

    It has been more than 10 years since Aye Min fled Myanmar amid the fighting between the military and the Karen nationalist forces. With nothing but the clothes on her back, Aye Min boarded a boat in 2006 and crossed the Moie river to Mae Sot, a district located at the border of Thailand and Myanmar. Now 43, Aye Min lives in a...

  • A world without men? When men go abroad to work, women in Nepal take the lead at home.

    Night has fallen inky black and cold over Amar Basti village, but Kalpana Thapa and her neighbors are loath to drift off to bed. They punch at their phones, pull shawls tighter and coo at the children careening around. A light bulb, powered by a shared electricity line, illuminates the concrete platform that serves as Thapa’s dining room. ...

  • Are Qatar’s reform efforts falling short?

    When Ranjit Kumar Sah finished his schooling in Nepal, Qatar was the natural next step. Though his village is so remote it takes half-an-hour to reach a paved road, it’s located in an area that has become one of the epicentres of Nepal’s labour migration boom. Between 2009 and 2015, migration from Dhanusha District more than doubled, and...

  • Migration After Rebellion in Niger

    The young men of Agadez in central Niger have been many things: armed rebels in the Touareg rebellion (2007-9), soldiers in Gaddafi’s army, uranium miners, desert tour guides and, most recently, migrant smugglers and informal gold miners. But last September, the Nigerien government began to enforce a law, passed at the behest of the European Union, that criminalizes...

  • For women left behind in Senegal, the exodus to Europe brings rewards, risk and regret

    Walking along the dirt track in the centre of Maka village in Tambacounda province in eastern Senegal, one need not ask which house belongs to the family with a son in Europe. Amid a cluster of square mud-brick houses with thatched roofs, only one is made of cement, towering above the flat scrubland; a spacious veranda wraps around the front....

  • With Senegal’s Fishermen

    When a fisherman prays at sea, he performs his ablutions with salt water and turns the boat in the direction of Mecca. But on the tenth day of his journey to the Canary Islands, Djiby Diop told me, everyone’s prayers mingled together, voices rising jagged and hoarse, calling on the Great, the Merciful, to save them. Water poured...