Many of you reading this post would likely say that you enjoy travelling overseas. For individual reasons, there are those of us who are not always satisfied keeping within our own country borders, held back from roaming around new places, discovering new things.
As an Englishman living in Vietnam, there have been times when the systems have felt against me here in Saigon (the acquisition of Martha’s birth certificate a particular low point). There are days when you want to close your eyes and re-open them back amongst more familiar surrounds and comforts.
At the same time, the benefits on offer to my family living over here are significant, and there are so many things I cherish about my day-to-day. I am lucky: I have a good job; access to credit and to purchasing power; access to information; the ability to set up a bank account in a matter of minutes; a driving licence; a work permit. All of which give me a sense of security and belonging here.
Several years ago, CARE launched a project in Bangladesh, India and Nepal, exploring ways in which we could support Nepali migrants who were forced to travel, live and work in India and Bangladesh.
The project is called EMPHASIS, and perhaps unwittingly, for anyone in the UK reading this who has ever bought a National Lottery ticket, you yourselves may have helped contribute to the work of EMPHASIS, as the initiative was funded by the Big Lottery Fund – http://www.biglotteryfund.org.uk – which uses some proceeds from UK Lottery ticket sales to invest in overseas programmes.
Last year I was in Kathmandu, Nepal, working with colleagues there on extending this project, and last week I got to visit one of the EMPHASIS Community Centres in outer Delhi, and in doing so got to meet an incredible group of people…