9 January 2012
Mr. and Mrs. Mathew prepare dinner while Jiya plays with her grandmother.
(photo: Peter Lemieux)
Emigration occurs in many of the countries CNEWA serves. Families generally choose to migrate from their country of origin in order to make a better life for themselves. In Kerala, it is common for a family member to migrate to another country and send home money or ”remittances.“ But those not benefitting from emigration face the harsh realities of poverty and lack of opportunity in Kerala:
About a mile or so from the Peters family’s new home — in a neighborhood where residents claim ”Gulf money“ has built 90 percent of all the houses — huddles the rundown shack that Jeji and Priya Mathew and their 1-year-old daughter, Jiya, call home. A ratty, blue plastic tarp tacked crudely over the entrance collects leaves. Water stains splotch the interior walls of this cramped, makeshift dwelling. Toothbrushes and other toiletries fill the shallow crevices of an exterior brick wall around back. With no running water, the dirt landing adjoining the shack’s rear is where Mr. Mathew shaves, his wife brushes her hair and Jiya plays — mud puddles at their feet.
Unlike the Peters family, the Mathews do not receive any remittances from overseas. The family struggles just to secure the basics.
For more, read Kerala’s Bittersweet Phenomenon from the September 2008 issue. Also, take a look at the accompanying multimedia feature, Meaning and Measure of Kerala Emigration.
Tags: India Kerala Poor/Poverty Emigration Employment