My father, the migrant worker


Asmi Musthafa, Programme Assistant (Labour Migration), ILO Colombo

In June 1986, soon after I was born, my father went overseas. I grew up in Maruthamunai, a small coastal village of about 15,000 people in the Eastern Province of Sri Lanka. I come from a family of seven and have four siblings – three elder sisters and a younger sister.

We were all very young when my father left the country to work in Saudi Arabia as a driver for a household. I can’t begin to imagine how my mother felt, tasked with looking after five kids without the direct support of her husband. Continue reading

Voices in your ear


By Monica Varela, Chief Interpreter, ILO

You are in a small, glass-fronted booth, earphones secure, microphone ready, laptop and screens switched on. You see rows of delegates down below but they barely notice you are there. One begins to speak. You listen, process the meaning, interpret into your target language with the mic on, while listening and processing the next segment of information – all this continuously and with a delay of just a few seconds. Continue reading

In the care economy, unpaid does not mean worthless


By Laura Addati, ILO Policy Specialist

For me, August means juggling the demands of school holiday childcare with those of my paid employment. Really, it’s like having two jobs; both rewarding and time-consuming, both with responsibilities.

Perhaps it’s only when we have children or other loved ones who need care, that we really recognize the value of unpaid care work. Continue reading