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Journey to Safety: Unveiling the Plight and Power of ASEAN’s Migrant Women!

Embark on a profound odyssey that transpires in the heart of the “Safe Journey with Her: Ending Violence against Women for Safe and Fair Migration” exhibition. Within these empathetic walls, visitors are bestowed with a narrative tapestry, sharing the courage and determination of women who traverse the expansive ASEAN frontiers in pursuit of prosperity and tranquility for their kin and themselves.

Painting a vibrant picture of the regional migration landscape where a staggering 24 million souls tread in search of gainful employment, the exhibition highlights the astounding fact that women constitute nearly half of this migratory throng. Each journey springs from humble beginnings, spurred by an aspiration to break free from the shackles of poverty and violence. For these intrepid women, the lure of foreign lands lies in the promise of lucrative jobs and skill acquisition, an opportunity to rise above the societal confines of their native soils.

Step into this revelatory space and you’re not just observing, but immersing in the transformative sagas of these resilient women. Their narratives do not simply skim the surface of ground realities. Instead, they dive deep into the underlying currents that tug at the very fabric of social mobility and autonomy. They are tales of triumph, of women who defy odds, navigating through challenges riddled with bias, and renegotiating their positions within the existing dichotomies of power.

Yet, it is not all a saga of triumphs. The exhibit lays bare the unsettling risks and tribulations that enshroud their grand aspirations—the pervasive threat of violence, the sinister shadow of harassment, and the unseen but ever-present predator of exploitation. Each of these perils embodies a grim testament to the gender-based vulnerabilities that these women must confront in their odyssey to empowerment.

In the midst of this disquieting narrative however gleams a beacon of hope. The “Safe and Fair” programme—crafted collaboratively over six laborious years—has been championing the cause of safeguarding women from the throngs of violence and the abyss of trafficking. Panudda Boonpala, the valorous deputy regional director for the International Labour Organisation (ILO), speaks of their painstaking strides towards securing a sanctuary for these women, ensuring that migration remains a passage of safety rather than sorrow.

While strides have been made, the quest is far from complete, reminds Sarah Knibbs from UN Women. As female migrants stand in the midst of chaos brought on by violence, they are often beleaguered by hefty barriers obstructing their path to assistance. The only compass to navigate through this is to humanise—to narrate the visceral experiences that these women endure. It is only through their stories can awareness be kindled and change be ignited.

Allow yourself to be a part of this compelling narrative, a witness to the resilience and resolve of these noble souls. Walk through the chronicles of “Safe Journey with Her” up until the impending dawn of Sunday, December 3.

Sip in the breath of inspiration without a cost, for this exhibition beckons with its doors wide open, inviting one and all to understand and partake in the journey of these remarkable women. Sojourn within these stories, and emerge enlightened, moved, and motivated to echo their voices to the world.

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