DHADING, Dec 3: Devaki Pandit of Siddhilek Rural Municipality hardly sleeps at night remembering her son who disappeared in Malaysia about a decade ago. Her son Damodar had gone abroad promising her to bring home money and happiness.
"We have not been able to experience happiness since my son went out of contact," said Pandit, adding, "I was expecting him to take care of me in my twilight years. Sadly, I can't even talk to him now."
After facing difficulties in managing two square meals, many youths chose to go abroad with the hope of bringing home enough money for their family. However, some of them disappear or become contactless due to various reasons. This not just sets the family apart but also breaks them mentally and emotionally.
Going abroad for employment is not a choice but an obligation for those who have hard time fulfilling the basic needs of their family in their home country. However, their journey away from their loved ones often becomes much more difficult than expected. Nepal has a long history of foreign employment. Breaking the traditional gender stereotypes, many women too are lured toward foreign employment.
To uplift the weak financial status of his family, Samir Silwal of Nalang went abroad in search of a job. Sending away their eldest son to Malaysia was a heartbreaking decision for his parents. But they were unaware that the happiness that their son had envisaged was never to come. It's been 14 years that his family has been waiting for him to come home but in vain.
His father laments that nothing has changed over the years, as they are still sheltering in the same dilapidated hut. Poverty does not bother them as much as their son's disappearance. Their eyes are ever wet and heart always heavy.
It's not the youths who disappear in foreign lands but their family members who have to deal with the mental pressure. They sell whatever they have to send their children to foreign lands. When their sons or daughter disappear abroad, the already poor family gets buried under the burden of debt.
Every year, at least 10,000 people go abroad from Dhading. It's especially the young wives who have no option other than raising their children all by themselves in the absence of their husbands. Most of such wives become mentally fragile over the years. When their young children question them the whereabouts of their father, they become answerless.
Most of the people from Dhading go to Malaysia, Qatar, and Dubai in search of jobs. Usually, youths from 18 to 25 years of age chose to go abroad, according to the district authorities. Sadly, 80 % of them go abroad without learning any skills.
As per the record maintained by the District Court, a total of 27 divorce cases have been filed by males since mid August. Surprisingly, most of them are associated with foreign employment. Both accuse each other of cheating.