UNICEF launches report on the impact of labour migration on children left behind in Tajikistan
DUSHANBE, Tajikistan, 13 December 2011 – A UNICEF report launched today sheds light on the negative impact of labour migration on many children who are left behind in Tajikistan.
Despite the benefit of additional earnings, a significant number of migrant parents said that they were unhappy about being forced to migrate in order to sustain their families. The report said that families who were questioned said the overall impact of migration as ‘very positive’ or ‘positive’, but 30 per cent describe it as neutral and 33 per cent as negative.
Some 48 per cent of non-migrant households described the impact of migration on families as negative. Extra income is the largest advantage because it helps pay for better health, education, nutrition and housing. Abandoned family members see no positive impact from migration.
Labour migration in Tajikistan reflects the complex history of the country and the dramatic economic and social changes in recent years. Various studies have identified remittances as a key factor supporting economic growth and poverty reduction. There are very few studies on the effect of migration on household dynamics and children left behind. This report addresses these gaps by examining how migration impacts aspects of children’s lives including health, education, economic activity and psycho-social well-being.
“The study has revealed the mixed positive and negative impacts of migration on children and women depending on whether they belong to migrant, non-migrant or abandoned households,” said Ms. Laylee Moshiri, UNICEF Representative in Tajikistan.
“The policy recommendations provided in the report are intended to enhance the debate on lessening the negative social effects of migration on children left behind,” she added. The report said many children in the study were strongly affected by their parent’s migration, showing symptoms of withdrawal and depression and increased aggressiveness and rebelliousness. Children reported being teased as forgotten and exposed to more bullying because of the lack of a protective fatherly protective figure.
The report says the impact of migration on the education of children left behind depends on various factors. The research supported the hypothesis that migration status does not impact school enrolment because this is mandatory, enforced and free up to the age of 16.
The report sees a need for a coherent national social protection policy not solely focused on poverty reduction but also to protect vulnerable people, including children left behind.
Read the full report
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