Only a couple of days after we got back from Indramayu, Yerry and I, were getting ready to hit the road again to head east for a similar training. This time our destination was Cianjur. Similar to Indramayu, Cianjur is also one of the areas in the country that send the most migrant workers. Cianjur is located between Jakarta and Bandung, which is about 120 km in the northwest of Jakarta. The population of Cianjur is in the ballpark of 2 million people however only around 39% reach high school level according to the official data of the local government. The low level of education and the limited access to job market are the main factors why people of Cianjur choose to be migrant workers. According to the local office of Ministry of Manpower and Transmigration, up until early 2012 there are around 30,000 migrants workers from Cianjur. In 2011 alone, 6000 people left the town to work abroad.
But the data only shows those who go through official avenue. According to some migrant workers organizations the number is much higher since there are a lot of people go and work abroad without legal papers. Destination countries are Hongkong, Malaysia, Brunei, Taiwan, Singapore, and middle eastern countries. Out of those countries, Arab Saudi is the most favorable destination country with 95% of migrant workers choose to go there despite all the risks and horrible experience of other migrant workers who had worked in Saudi. The story goes similarly with other migrant workers from other areas; there are a lot of trafficking cases, document forgeries, abuses, illegal money extortions, and the list goes on.
Although Cianjur is not too far from Jakarta but the village we were going to was far from the town. We drove 12 hours through hills and jungles. We left Jakarta at 10 am on July 13 and arrived at Mandalawangi village around 10 pm. We did not expect it to be that far. The house we were going to stay in and have the training was in the mountain area. Houses were distance from one another and surrounded by forest.
By the time we arrived we were too tired to start the training and it was too late for the participants as well. So we decided to start the training the next day. To compensate to lost time, we started the training at 8 am sharp on July 14th. The training was held in an empty house owned by a couple who are now in Arab Saudi for work. Similar to the Indramayu training, we had participants from different backgrounds in Cianjur, with the youngest participant being 17 year old! She was a daughter of a woman who is now working in Arab Saudi. We also had two female participants who were working in Arab Saudi and experienced mental, physical and sexual abuses from their employers. Speaking of which I will write a story about one of them and share it with all of you.
The training went on in the same order as our Indramayu training. We started with theories. Brief, clear and simple. This was especially important since some of the participants were not too technologically savvy. In early afternoon of that day, the participants had already started to learn how to make a story board, how to formulate questions for interview, how to operate a camera and shoot using five basic shots principle that they learned in the theory session.
After the theories and practice, they divided themselves in three groups and each made a video, putting everything they have learned earlier into practice. At this stage they only made video about the story about one of them. The divided the labors between themselves. One became the interviewer, one became the resource person, one was behind the camera, and one was directing. Before ending the day, they learned basic editing and edited the footages they had taken earlier. The training ended around 6:30 pm but they still had a homework to do, which was to decide on a story and prepare everything they need to make it into a video.
The next day, which was the last day of the training, the groups went out to work on their videos and went back to the house and went straight editing the videos. Two videos were finished but one had a technical problem by the time the training ended. But we asked them to finish and upload it to EM site even after Yerry and I left.
Before I end this post, I'd like to point out a couple of interesting observations that I made when I was in Mandalawangi village, Cianjur. In the whole village, I rarely saw young women and when I asked around, the answer was that most young women from the village are working abroad. Secondly, the houses in Mandalawangi village and the villages around it are signs whether the owners were successful migrant workers or not.
Here is the link to the videos made by migrant workers:
As I promised on my previous blog post, I am going to share the story of our training for migrant workers in Indonesia. We did two trainings within two weekends time. The first one was in Indramayu, west Java and another one was in Cianjur, also in West Java. Both Indramayu and Cianjur were two of the places in Indonesia that send most migrant workers abroad. This post is about the training we did in Indramayu. Before I tell you about how the workshop went, I am going to tell you a little about Indramayu.
Indramayu is located in the north coastal area of West Java and is an agricultural area and is one of the biggest rice producers in the country. The problem lies in the land ownership, where only a little over a quarter of its population are landlords and whilst more than 70% of its population are farm workers , who own very little land (less than 0.5 ha) or do not own land at all. Besides known as an agricultural area, Indramayu is also known as oil and gas producer, but the industry is being dominated by people from outside the area (i.e. Jakarta). Although Indramayu is a very rich area, but many of its population live under poverty line. The area has been sending migrant workers since around three decades ago, but the wave of migration risen sharply when the economic crisis hit the nation at the end of 1997. Many women from the area saw working abroad as the only hope to build a better future for themselves and their family. By paying a lump sum of money to a 'sponsor' (broker) they could go to other countries, mostly middle eastern countries, to work. The number of people from the area working abroad put Indramayu as one of the biggest migrant worker senders in the country.
This wave of migration, of course, leaves a lot of social-cultural problems. Human-trafficking is a very common case. Instead of being sent abroad to work, a lot of women (a lot are underage) from the area were being 'sold' as sex workers in Jakarta or in other countries. Abuses, rapes, unpaid wages, document forgeries, illegal extortions, and child labor are also often found. Not to mention the domestic problems that occur as the excess of migration. Indramayu dominates the number of problematic migrant workers with 1856 cases during January – May, 2012 alone (data: BNP2TKI). And the number was only the tip of an iceberg. Between the time we had our workshop there and the time I am writing this post, there are two underage female migrant workers (both 16 year-old) facing death penalty and life sentence charges in Singapore accused of murdering their employer. They are being tried under Singapore's penal code instead of under child protection laws because their age were falsified by their employment agents. But, besides the sad stories, there are also a lot of success stories, which encourage more people to take all the risks to work abroad. This situation is one of the reasons why we chose Indramayu as our workshop destination.
My colleague, Yerry, and I drove around seven hours to Indramayu in the morning of July 6th. We got there around late afternoon and went straight to opening the workshop in a house that often used by migrant workers to hold meetings. We started the training with introduction and we found out that some of the 12 participants were former migrant workers who were working in Taiwan, Malaysia and Arab Saudi, some were family members of migrant workers (husbands and children) and a couple of people have signed up to go abroad for working. On the first day of workshop we delivered basic theories on journalism and citizen journalism. Learning from our workshop experience in Kuala Lumpur, we made the theories shorter and easier to understand, putting into account that the participants came from different backgrounds of age and education level.
On the second day, we talked about all the technical aspects of making video, starting from the theories to the practice. Then the participants were divided into three groups to discuss and decide on a story, build a story board and went out shooting. After spending few hours shooting in the area, the participants learned how to edit their videos. At the end of day 2, we asked the participants to make a real story of migrant workers and find resource persons to be made into a video the next day.
On day 3, the participants went out to their shooting locations according to the stories they have decided on the previous day. They came back to the workshop venue in the afternoon and worked on editing their footages and made them into videos. It was fun watching the participants experimenting with editing styles. Some put music and narration over their videos. After finishing the editing process, the participants learned about distribution and how to upload their videos to EM site and other sites as well. But because of the very slow Internet connection not all of their videos were successfully uploaded to EM sites. But some that did, can be seen here
The workshop ended on early evening of day 3. Besides few videos came out of it, a commitment to build a media group also surfaced. They agreed that the group will be the voice of migrant workers, to tell stories of migrant workers from Indramayu. Let's wait for the outputs of this group. Hopefully soon. So, stay put, folks!
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Huge congratulations to the whole team! Especially Yiannis, Dimo, Markos, Mike, Christos from Unweb and Andrew plus all the other staff from EngageMedia and Unweb. More info soon!
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