Care drain has led to a generation of children in the developing countries growing up without their mothers at their sides


Care drain has led to a generation of children in the developing countries growing up without their mothers at their sides


 Most literature on globalization concentrations on money, markets, and labour flows, while limited attention is given to women, children, and the care of one for the other. Similarly, studies on women and development, usually links for example, World Bank loan conditions with the shortage of food for women and children, giving little thought about resources and time spent on caregiving.

The Brain drain phenomenon which is the migration of the educated, skilled and professional workers from their countries of origin, sometimes developing world to developed countries. Where they can earn much higher salaries and enjoy better standards of living, has been going on for decades.   However, the global labour market has created a new trend that is less known, but becoming increasingly visible and equally worrying, known as the care drain. It is   the migration of women from developing countries, where they perform the majority of domestic and care work: cooking, cleaning, care for the sick, the old and the young without pay, to the developed countries, where they do the same work for money.

Care drain like Brain drain has major disadvantages. However, care drain could have far-reaching and irreversible consequences on women and children.  This is so because many migrant women make huge sacrifices for their children, in order to provide them with better standard of living and quality education. However, in the process, they leave behind their families and children, sometimes even babies, for many years.   As a result they miss out on their own children’s lives.  The relationship with their children is not based on direct care and love, but care through money.  The children cannot talk to their mothers face to face, see their faces or give them hugs or kisses. They lose being care for by their own mothers when they are ill.  Mothers also miss out on important family events such as birthday, first days at schools, see their children take their first steps etc.


In addition, studies have shown that children of migrant women are ill more often than other children. They experience bitterness, bewilderment, and indifference more than children, who live with their mothers. Equally, trust between mother and child erodes and children frequently have doubts about real reasons their mothers left them and their mother’s true feelings for them.  Children express disapproval and negative feelings towards their mothers.  They keep asking themselves even years after their mothers’ have return and families reunited whether their mothers really had to go why their mothers left them, whether there were alternatives to leaving children behind.


Furthermore, children of migrant women are some of biggest losers as the care affection, fondness, and love that were meant for them are all redirected towards the children of their mother’s employers in the developed countries. Generally, children in developed countries are more fortunate than children in poor countries.  These children possess everything: nice toys and clothes, big rooms, good schools, adoring parents and caring nannies. The children in the developed countries are the winners as they get all the love and affection that their parents and families are willing and capable of giving, including all the bought love and affection of their nannies.

Fatou Jallow


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