“This is my youngest daughter at her elementary graduation. When my daughter speaks to me, she tells me to eat properly and gets angry if I tell her I ate instant noodles. But she never wants to speak to me on video. Both of my daughters, if it’s a video call they just run away. They don’t want to see their father. I think it’s because if they see me, they will miss me too much. The only way I see them is when they’re asleep, my wife calls me and shows them sleeping.”

“When I came to Malaysia, I had no skills. None. I didn’t make it to high school. But I am a really fast learner and I quickly learned how to work with construction materials, electricals, plumbing. But what I really enjoy is working with building plans. All the calculations and measurements. I used to love mathematics in school, so this is my chance to do that. I think even when I retire, work will never end for me. Sitting around at home, relaxing - that’s how you get sick.”

“I was imprisoned in Malaysia for an immigration offence. The living conditions in these detentions centres are horrible. But when I was there, they were building a mosque for the prisoners inside. I used to just watch how they work with tiles. I’ve never worked with tiles before, now I had the chance. I learned how to lay out the cement, layer it and finally put on the tiles. When I was deported back to Indonesia, I laid tiles in my home with my wife. We didn’t hire anyone. We did it ourselves based on what I learned.”

This six-part video series and photo essays were produced under a collaboration between R.AGE and the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) Migrant Workers’ Empowerment and Advocacy (MWEA) Project. The MWEA Project is funded by the United States Department of Labor under cooperative agreement number IL-28099-15-75-K-11.
This material does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the United States Department of Labor, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the United States Government. 100% percentage of the total costs of this project or program is financed with Federal funds, for a total of 26,322.61 dollars.