The government has unveiled the first of its kind plan to set up a ´Foreign Employment Scholarship Fund´ which will ultimately benefit as much as 2,800 children of migrant workers who lost their lives or became partially handicapped during the course of foreign employment.
Children of migrant workers who committed suicide overseas can also seek this scholarship. The government has said that children from Dalit, Janajati and other backwards communities will be given priority. However, the government has set an age bar of below 16 to be eligible for this program.
“We aim to support education of children of migrant workers who died or became partially handicapped in course of foreign employment,” informed Tika Bhandari, director of Foreign Employment Promotion Board (FEPB), adding, “Since Nepali migrants leave the nation with a dream to earn money, upgrade their financial condition and educate their children, it will be a good decision to support their children´s education.”
Under the new program, each identified children will receive up to Rs. 10,000 per year for their educational support in community schools. FEPB has allocated Rs. 20 million to implement the scholarship package within the current fiscal year. Each migrant worker deposit Rs. 1,000 at the FEPB before leaving for foreign employment and the total sum of that money has reached around Rs. 2.50 billion.
The government will identify such children by mapping different villages in coordination with the Village Development Committee and District Development Committee. FEPB has started necessary preparation for effective implementation of the program at the earliest.
“We have already prepared a work plan for the scholarship fund and will put it into action as soon the cabinet gives a nod,” Bhandari told Republica.
Either due to choice or coercion, Nepalis have been migrating overseas for foreign employment at a higher rate. As per the current record of FEPB, a total number of 2,831 Nepali migrant workers have died in a span of just five years starting from 2010 to mid-April 2014. The number of people dying in the year 2010 was just 520 while the number surged to 828 in the year 2013.
Likewise, 283 Nepali migrants have committed suicide since the beginning of the year 2010 till mid-April 2014.
Authorities say that decision of the government to support education of migrant workers´ children will also increase the literacy rate in the country.
Remittance contributes one-fourth to Nepal´s economy, and around 25 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
As per the record of the Department of Foreign Employment, around 3.3 million Nepalis are currently working overseas while around 1,500 to 2,000 people leave the nation for foreign employment a day.