How Three Children of Migrant Workers Feel About Life in Lebanon

What better way to close out the Migrant Stories series then with tales from children? If you're just joining the series, here's what you missed:

Also, don't miss the opportunity to download a free copy of the Migrant Stories eMagazine designed especially for Her Blueprint. Now, let's hear what these brilliant young minds have to say.

Children of Migrants Have Their Say

About five percent of Lebanon's population is a migrant worker. As for children of migrants, their numbers remain unknown because of their invisibility. Many children of migrant workers face marginalization and racism within the Lebanese culture because of their parents' social status. Migrant Stories met with a few young people to hear about their lives in Lebanon.

My name is George and I am 10 years old. My father is from Nigeria and my mother is from Sri Lanka. My mother came here to work in a hotel as a cleaner. My father works as an electrician. They met while working here in Lebanon.
My favourite subject in school is English and when I’m older I am going to France for University. I don’t speak French now but I will learn when I get there. I live with my mom and dad in the building where my father works. 
It’s OK living here. My mom doesn’t really like her job but they both work to take care of me. I hope that one day I will travel to Nigeria and Sri Lanka and see my countries.
I’m 11 years old and I was born in Lebanon. My parents are originally from Sierra Leone, they came to look for work in Lebanon because of the civil war. A few years after I was born, my father was deported because he was fired from his job and it created problems with his work papers. 
My mother decided to stay behind and continue to work as a household worker. There is no work in Sierra Leone and the jobs they have don’t pay enough to take care of all of us.
 She’s not treated very well and she works a lot. 
My mother doesn’t like her work but she has to be able to provide for us. I wish we could go to Sierra Leone but because I was born here I don’t have my papers to travel. But soon I will have papers. My mom doesn’t have legal papers so she has been going to the embassy and they are trying to fix her papers. For now, I can't leave until my mom's papers are sorted out. 
This summer my friend Mona and I are planning to intern at a beauty salon. I want to work with hair when I get older so that I have a better salary and can take care of my mom. 
Life in Lebanon is boring because I can only hang out with my friends while at school because if the police catch migrant kids on the streets late they will ask for our identity papers. 
 Living here just makes you crazy because I deal with a lot of racism every day. I get into fights all the time with my Lebanese friends because they make racists remarks about me. Usually they start something with me and I return the favour.
My name is Mona and I am 15 years old. My mother is from Sri Lankan and my father is Jordanian. My mother came to Lebanon 20 years ago to work as a domestic worker. My mother’s Madame was not treating her well. She wasn’t being paid on time and she didn’t have many days off and sometimes she would mistreat her. 
My father was doing business in the country when he met my mother. He saw that my mother was having a lot of problems with her work and started helping her by getting her money and papers together so that she could leave her employment situation. 
Several years after I was born, my parents split. I don’t know why my father left but I don’t see him anymore. My mother was able to find another job as a maid so that we can stay here. I live in a small apartment in Achrafiyeh with my mother and younger brother. 
I don’t like it here because I don’t fit in with the Lebanese and I would like to go to Sri Lanka and live the life of the people there, see the rest of my family, speak my language and be around people who are like me. Because I was born in Lebanon my mother has been unable to obtain papers for me from the Sri Lankan embassy. She has to pay a lot of money to the embassy to have them do the paperwork for my passport and she can’t afford it. My father could have gotten me Jordanian citizenship but decided not to because it would mean that he would have to marry my mother. So, I am stuck here.

Over to You

What are some issues mothers face when it comes to caring for their children? What are some ways to cater to the needs of children who are forced across borders at an early age? Share your thoughts below or on the IMOW Facebook page. After that, share this post so that others can join the conversation.

Finally, take a look at the International Museum of Women project called MAMA. It's an amazing online exhibition of global art, ideas, and voices aimed at making issues affecting mothers visible.