Mom on Skype: problem of children left behind discussed in Kyiv

Kyiv, 23 April 2013

The International Organization for Migration (IOM), Mission in Ukraine, jointly with the Old Lion?s Publishing House, organized a roundtable in Kyiv titled ?Mom on Skype: Labour Migration-Related Challenges for the Families?. The discussion was triggered by the German-Ukrainian social and literary project ?Mom on Skype?. The book is a collection of short stories by 11 modern Ukrainian writers (Halyna Crook, Marianna Kiyanovska, Halyna Malyk, Oleksandr Havrosh, Tania Maliarchuk, Valentyn Berdt, Serhii Hrydin, Natalka Sniadanko, Natalia Huzeieva, Oksana Lutsyshyna and Oksana Lushchevs?ka), who explore the problem of children left behind as a consequence of labour migration of their parents, and the challenges of communication between parents and children.

Roundtable participants were the Ambassador of Germany to Ukraine Dr. Christof Weil, IOM Ukraine?s Chief of Mission Mr. Manfred Profazi, the Chief Editor of Old Lion?s Publishing House, the author of the idea and editor of ?Mom on Skype? Ms. Marjana Savka, representative of the translators? and cultural mediators? association TRANSLIT, the editor of the German version of ?Mom on Skype? Ms. Kati Brunner, Senior Researcher with the National Institute of Strategic Studies Ms. Olena Malynovs?ka, and psychologist of the Ukrainian charitable fund ?Zaporuka? Ms. Marjana Nych.

?As a representative of a country of destination for labour migrants, from which people are ?skyping?, I think the book is truly interesting and impressive, not only because of its subject, but also as a piece of literature,? stated the Ambassador of Germany Dr. Christof Weil opening the discussion. ?It is about the difficulty of re-translating a ?smiley?, but also about the difficulty of preserving relationships and families over long distances. Statistics on the issue apart, the personal problems arising from it become very tangible and, therefore, understandable to us. I am very happy that Germany ? in this case, the Robert Bosch Stiftung ? was able to help this project to materialize,? added Ambassador Weil.

?Being an organization, which aims to minimize the challenges of migration, IOM warmly welcomes the publication of this highly relevant short-story collection ?Mom on Skype?. According to some governmental estimates, five years ago about 200,000 Ukrainian children and adolescents were growing up without parental care because either their mother or father, or even both parents, have migrated to look for work abroad. Many of these children are grown up today, so the current figure might be not so high, but every person, every story matters,? stated IOM Ukraine?s Chief of Mission Manfred Profazi. He reminded that IOM has helped to reconnect Ukrainian women working in Italy and their children in the Chernivtsi Region by establishing Skype connection. ?However, the complex phenomena of children left behind needs to be comprehensively addressed in Ukraine. We are glad that the book ?Mom on Skype? has triggered such a discussion,? added Mr. Profazi.

?I have no illusions that this book will change the situation in the country, or make the parents return to their children and solve the problems of unemployment and lack of social security, which make people leave Ukraine,? says chief editor of the Old Lion?s Publishing House, the editor of ?Mom on Skype? Ms. Marjana Savka. ?But this book will cut to the heart of many people and will start an open discussion about a painful issue in our society, to which many children are hostage.?

For further information please contact IOM Ukraine Communications Officer Ms. Varvara Zhluktenko (+38 044 568 50 15, 067 447 97 92, vzhluktenko@iom.int) or the Head of the Old Lion?s Publishing House Office in Kyiv Olena Geda

(050 661 73 85, ogeda@starlev.com.ua)

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