“We really wanted to get from the Vietnamese public their ideas on how to better promote safe, regular, and orderly migration in Vietnam," said Park Mihyung, Chief of Mission, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) Vietnam in Hanoi on December 18.
|Park Mihyung, Chief of Mission, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) Vietnam, at the awards ceremony held in Hanoi on Dec 18. Photos: IOM Vietnam|
Park Mihyung shared her idea at the awards ceremony of the national competition titled “Migration through my lens” - the first of its kind in the country kicked off by IOM Vietnam.
Through the competition, the United Nations agency, which is making efforts to deal with migration issues in a more effective way to advance Vietnamese migrants’ rights, has encouraged local people to bring visual or storytelling aspects of migration to disseminate compelling entries that draw Vietnamese people to learn more about the issue.
With that approach, the competition asked entrants to describe what migration means using their pictures or short videos. The competition was part of IOM’s efforts to increase interest and enhance knowledge about migration rights in the lead-up to the commencement of International Migrants Day (December 18).
|Three winners (hold bunches of flowers) of the competition “Migration through my lens” held in Vietnam for the first time.|
Le Thao Huong, a young female from Ho Chi Minh City, won the first prize for her story that Park Mihyung said it stood out to her.
Thao Huong, through the contest, wants young people to understand that migration means stepping out of their comfort zone. “We will gain new knowledge, find joy, overcome challenges and difficulties during migration,” Huong told The Hanoi Times.
At 26, she gave up her stable job in Vietnam and embarked on a journey. She has been to many countries in the last four years, working different jobs and meeting new people. She, at times, found the journey very lonely, and there were significant hurdles along the way. Yet she wanted to “see more, explore more, and learn more. “That was the main motivation behind my migration,” she stated.
Huong admitted that the migration journey also taught her to treasure the small things in life and to believe in herself. “You should seek information from reliable sources to make sure that you can start the journey with accurate information, be empowered to make informed decisions, and protect yourself from the risks,” she noted.
|The awards ceremony held in Hanoi on the occasion of International Migrants Day (Dec 18) attracts a large number of people.|
“Surprisingly, despite different backgrounds and experiences, none of the entries described migration as ‘sad’ or ‘turbulent’ but as ‘hopes’ and ‘dreams’,” Park Mihyung shared with The Hanoi Times.
She added that too often, the word ‘migrant’ is associated with negative connotations, almost dehumanizing at times. “But at the heart of every movement, there are people. People with hopes and dreams and immense potential. So, let us not forget the great benefits migration has brought to our societies and that when well governed, it is always a very good thing for the world,” Park Mihyung emphasized.
For migrants and refugees, an uncertain start can have a happy ending, she stressed.
In the first competition, the second prize winner was Tran The Khai, a youth from Ba Ria-Vung Tau whose short video told the story of a female migrant’s journey from the Mekong Delta to Ho Chi Minh City. The third prize went to Nguyen Huu Thong from Hanoi for his impressive photo of H’mong seasonal migrant workers in Ha Giang.
|Message for migration that Vietnamese people want to convey.|
Situation and IOM commitment for Vietnam
According to IOM’s World Migration Report 2022, there were around 281 million international migrants in the world in 2020, which equates to 3.6% of the global population. The estimated number of international migrants has increased over the past five decades.
With the resumption of international travel in March 2022, the movement of Vietnamese people returned to the pre-Covid level. According to the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs, in the first 11 months of 2022, the number of Vietnamese migrants going abroad to work already reached over 122,000, meeting 135.56% of the year’s plan.
Park Mihyung said people migrate for various reasons, ranging from better job opportunities to studying, forming a new family, or reuniting with loved ones. However, climate change, armed conflicts, or violence also led to migration.
“Whether volunteered, forced, or lured to migrate, we know that they are all striving for better lives and are contributing to the development of both sending and receiving societies. And these include our Vietnamese migrants,” she added.
Over the past decade, the country has become one of the top 20 countries in the world, which received the highest remittance from its international migrant workers. According to official data on contracted overseas labor in 2021, Vietnam has over 600,000 international migrant workers in nearly 40 countries who have sent home around US$3-4 billion in remittance every year.
In this regard, Park Mihyung stated that it is important to remember the numerous advantages that immigration has brought to our society and that, when properly managed, it is always a very positive development. IOM will keep presenting additional possibilities for migrants to share their tales and give them a platform to speak up to ensure this.
“And we will count on you to also tell migration stories, but of course, in a way that promotes safe, orderly, and regular migration,” she affirmed.
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