Dashain brings tears to families of disappeared migrant workers

Published On: October 15, 2018 04:00 AM NPT By: Sarita Shrestha

DHADING, Oct 15: The fervor of Dashain has gripped the people living in every nook and corner of the country. The villages, which wore a deserted look as early as a week ago, have become lively with the arrival of residents from the far-flung cities and towns. Dashain is the festival of rejoice, delicacies and blessings. By putting all their important works aside, people gather and enjoy the annual festival. However, the excitement for Dashain is rarely seen in the families of the disappeared migrant workers.

With hopes of bringing home money and happiness, every year a large number of Nepali youths fly abroad. However, some of them disappear or go out of contact with their families back home after a certain time due to various reasons. This is the reason why for some family members, Dashain has failed to bring the excitement.

It has been 13 years since Khin Kumari Lamsal of Nilkantha Municipality has not been able to celebrate Dashain with her son. She spent several Dashain waiting for her son but in vain. But the hope is still alive. Stating that it is disheartening to see others welcoming relatives and cherishing fun, Khin Kumari said, "I have been waiting to celebrate Dashain with my son for 13 years," adding, "He had promised to return for the celebration before going to Malaysia."

The whereabouts of her son Krishna Prasad is unknown since long. The tears that she shed during his departure have not stopped flowing till now.

Similarly, the joy of Dashain fails to excite the family of Devaki Pandit of Sidhilek Rural Municipality. This festival is no more an occasion of celebration for this family after Devaki's son Damodar disappeared in Malaysia. She laments that she is often in tears when others making merry. "These days, I don't want Dashain to come as that is the time when I cry the most remembering him," said Devaki. Various authorities were requested to find Damodar who has been missing for the past 12 years.

Dashain has not brought any excitement to the family of Sanubabu Paudel of Nilkantha Municipality-2, either. Five years ago, his wife Asmita Paudel went to Kuwait seeking employment. With a hope of seeing their mother, her sons often guard her way. When his sons ask about their mother, Sanubabu consoles them by saying she will return one day. Asmita had promised her sons that she will return home for Dashain in a phone call which happened to be her last till now.

These are just the representative cases of how the family members of the migrant Nepali workers who have 'disappeared' in foreign land remain untouched by Dashain. They are tired of waiting but the hope never dies. Poverty and lack of employment opportunities in Nepal force many to go to foreign lands. They depart from their hometowns expecting to bring home everything that their family needs. But some of these dreams never turn into reality, unfortunately. The details maintained by Chandrajyoti Integrated Rural Development Society (CIRDS) who has been conducting Safe Migration Project shows 23 people from Dhading have disappeared in various countries mainly in Malaysia. Although the family members file complaints at the Information and Counseling Center, that has been ineffective as the government lacks proper measures to find people missing in foreign countries

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