Take responsibility

The number of natives returning from abroad with mental trauma is reported to be escalating in Nepal. According to the psychiatric department of the B P Koirala Institute of Health Sciences where the majority of the traumatised are treated, of the 323 trauma patients, 15-20 per cent are people who have returned home after working abroad. The doctors claim that this is a result of lack of “social coordination,” which literally means not being around familiar faces. When Nepali workers arrive in a foreign land they find themselves exposed to strange environment with very different socio-cultural ethos than their own. Coping with this, given their language and education drawbacks plus weak communication skills, is a tough ask. This breeds insecurity and makes them horribly homesick leading to emotional imbalances leading to mental trauma. The unskilled labourers, in particular, are the most vulnerable because they work under tremendous physical pressure. Instead of being properly looked after by the companies, they are humiliated and exploited since many of them even end up being denied basic wages.

This is a national problem that demands immediate attention. While it is also the duty of the Nepali embassies and missions in those countries to ensure that Nepali workers are treated well and received their due, the authorities at home cannot shy away from their responsibility towards this lot as their cases also reflect the basic problems confronting the country like poverty, ignorance and exploitation. If the poor ones desperately seek the opportunities to go abroad in the hope of earning that little extra, the State has also been a beneficiary in the process since it receives huge remittances from them. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the government to make sure that the manpower agencies gave preliminary instructions and all information, good or bad, about the countries the workers are destined to. This will help them understand the situation under which they would have to work and know the risks involved. Thus preparing them in advance by sharing all relevant information about the places they are going will help save these people from being traumatised. It is urgent that the authorities concerned first looked within the prevalent system and rid it of the ills before blaming the host countries.