Last summer, I think I was blessed with almost everything.
Funding from the Women and Public Policy Program enabled me to pursue my project and travel abroad without much worry, including a new technical device, that is the venerable 'MacBook'; my previous laptop which I have been using for more than five years were almost run down. Joining a band of wonderful sisters (and brothers, of course) of fellow students and staffs was a tremendous support and encouragement as well.
Initially, I began my project with the goal of locating best practices of economically empowering migrant women in Asia. I was thinking of specific models from the non-profit world, because I thought government policies or the international framework is still largely insufficient in targeting these populations, especially in Asia where migrant groups are becoming increasingly visible at unprecedented patterns.
But then, my interests took a little turn while I was in Hong Kong. Early on, I mentioned that I got both research and advocacy parts through my stay in Hong Kong.
Moreover, deep exposure into the issue of migrant domestic workers and the upcoming ILO Convention next year, made me focus on this specific group of migrant women, rather than the general population, and consider variables such as labor, development, and government policies.
Especially, I began to focus more on how these women interact with each other, and organize themselves to advocate for their rights. Unions or organizations, or social capital in a more broader term, can be quite a traditional approach rather than innovative, but there is no doubt that this type of participation and mobilization of workers is essential in bringing democracy.
I am planning to turn my summer project into a PAE, especially focusing on how migrant domestic workers' movements have influence on the campaigning efforts for the ILO Convention. Client remains to be contacted... but it'd be perfect if I can get the ILO interested!
In the long term, I am hoping to find ways to work on this issue on a more sustainable basis. That may include finding a job on this issue after graduation, and/or possibly pursuing a PhD later on... maybe...
So, as always, the end is the beginning, though insecure and unclear it maybe at present, I am excited that it also means that almost everything can and will be done!