The Pain of children of migrant workers


In Lviv a second book has been presented in which the children of migrant workers tell of their experiences and feelings. Members of the audience were moved to tears.

The book contains 130 true stories from children whose parents are working abroad and gives a poignant insight into the depth of the problem of the exodus of Ukrainians abroad in search of work. 

In order to open the eyes of the authorities to this separation of children from their parents which they are implicated in, the International Institute of Education, Culture and Contact with the Diaspora of the National University “Lviv Polytechnic” [the Institute], with the financial support of the Norwegian Embassy in Ukraine, produced this second book in the cycle “Children of Migrants about themselves”.

“I’ve grown up, Mama.  Have you noticed?  I’ve learned a great many things in my life. Cruelty also…”

  Kateryna Lazarchuk, 17, Khmelnytsky region.

It’s not possible to give an exact figure for the number of Ukrainians who’ve got abroad.  Estimates range from 1.5 to 7 million. You can understand parents who want to provide their children with all that is necessary and ensure a decent future for them. It is the children who help us see this experience through their eyes in their moving accounts.

The difficult task of compiling this anthology has been undertaken by the Director of the Institute Iryna Klyuchkovska.

Norway’s Ambassador Olaf Berstad stresses: “Such important issues as emigration are mostly left for discussion between bureaucrats and politicians. This book returns the issue to real life”.

The first book in the series was presented in December last year as the result of a competition of works by children and young adults.

Head of the competition jury, laureate of the Shevchenko Prize, Ihro Kalynets says that he was stunned at the number and variety of creative works and how they presented problems of labour migration. There were works in all possible genres from fairytales and short novels, and plays to interviews, personal reflections and attempts at social analysis. All are moving and make it impossible to remain indifferent to the problems of these children, who have parents, but are deprived of parental warmth.

The presentation was attended by members of embassies and consulates of many European countries, academics, members of the city authorities, students, representatives of civic organizations. And, most importantly, by the children themselves who received books and read poignant excerpts from their writing.

“Life in a foreign land is a vain attempt to sprinkle sugar on poison”

  Ivanna Dashko, 17, Portugal

In their stories, the children reveal all the burning issues of society, of socio-economic problems, unemployment, the inaction of the authorities, the need for parents to be there day by day, drunkenness, smoking, drug addiction, psychological problems – the whole range of problems of guilt, loneliness, depression, fears and terrible dreams.

The Institute has run roundtables in different parts of the country aimed at creating state mechanisms for enabling migrant workers to return and a strategy for proper social protection for them and their children. They have also begun a new project: “Parents of migrants to their children.”

Based on information here

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