Disability – why your opinion is important


Marlee Matlin

When I was a little girl I had one burning ambition. It was to be an actress. I even wrote an essay, “If I was a movie star,” and it was so convincing it won a prize.

Sooner than I could have imagined I was winning bigger prizes, and for my acting. The Oscar, the Golden Globes. So, you will say, she achieved her ambition – far beyond the dreams of my teenage essay. And that is true…up to a point. Continue reading

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