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Dissemination Workshop on Labour Migration: Psychological and Socio-cultural Impact

Dissemination Workshop on Labour Migration: Psychological and Socio-cultural Impact took place on 15th June at Hotel Shangri-La, Kathmandu. It was presented by Research Officers: Nirjala Sharma and UpasanaRegmi. The qualitative study was conducted in 4 districts of NepalDhanusha, Makawanpur, Sindhupalchowk and Kathmanduin order to explore psychological and socio-cultural impact of issues faced by migrant workers and their families. Major findings of the study were:

  • High dependence on local agents, blind trust on relatives mediating as agents, challenges of documentation and negligence, lack of proper guidelines and orientation on proper/safe methods of departure, illiteracy and language barriers,issues of expectation v/s reality, socio-cultural and environmental adjustments, legal challenges, abuse and exploitations were identified as issues and challenges.
  • Disability, Physical assaults, Deaths, were the physical impacts of labour migration.
  • Gender disparity (female humiliations/discriminations, abuse and exploitations), difficulty re-integration in the community, re-migration and re-victimization, familial disruptions (polygamy, elopement), generation gap lacking transferability of traditions and cultures, addictions (ganja, alcohol)& gambling, compulsion to convert into Islam, purification rituals back homeland and restrictions to follow Hinduculture (tika, sindoor, phooli) were the major socio-cultural impacts on migrant workers and their families.
  • Worry, anxiety, fear, stress, guilt, regrets, feeling of being trapped, frustrations, hopelessness, helplessness, worthlessness, depression, irritation, anger, aggressiveness, sense of vengeance, interpersonal conflicts,suspiciousness, Persistent Delusional Disorder (PDD), psychotic symptoms, self-harm/ suicidal thoughts and attempts were identified as psychological impacts on migrant workers and their families.
  • Support systems available were reported to be medical insurances, Nepal Government compensations/scholarships, and embassies. Sadly, no MHPSS support was reported while in foreign land.

Earlier, Asst. Prof., Dr. Brandon Kohrt, Duke Global Health Institute gave his presentation on Migration and Global Mental Health.

High level government officials from Ministry of Health (MoH), Ministry of Labour and Employment (MoLE), Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare (MOWCSW), National Reconstruction Authority (NRA) along with other senior officials from other ministries, academicians from Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital (TUTH) Institute of Medicine (IOM), and TU Central department of psychology and representatives from various UN agencies, I/NGOs showed their presence in the program. In total, 80 participants attended the workshop, and provided valuable feedbacks and recommendations after the study findings were disseminated.

Remarks on the event were given by Mohammad Daud (Director, PHCRD), Prof. Dr. Saroj Ojha (HOD, Dept. of Psychiatry, TUTH), Prof. Dr. Shisir Subba (TU, Psychology Deparment), Rajan Paudel (Under-secretary, NRA).

Mr. Suraj Koirala, Executive Manager of TPO Nepal welcome all participants and Mr. Nagendra Pd. Luitel, Research Manager concluded the program. The overall program was facilitated by Mr. Pitambar Koirala, Coordinator of CTIP Project.

We congratulate the entire study team: Pitambar Koirala, Dr. Kamal Gautam, Nirjala Sharma, UpasanaRegmi and all field researchers for successful dissemination of the study findings.