Mon, May 03, 2010 - Page 2 News List

Show humanizes many struggles of migrant workers

By Shelley Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

“Living in a foreign country is very difficult. But no matter whether you are lucky or unlucky, life goes on,” said migrant worker Rhoda Cocjen Bergante, whose story, along with those of many others, is told in a month-long photography exhibition organized by the Taiwan International Workers’ Association (TIWA).

The exhibition, which relates the difficulties faced by migrant workers, opened yesterday at a temporary home provided by the association.

The photographs were taken by Chang Jung-lung (張榮隆), who before becoming a photographer was injured while working as a construction worker.

Rhoda’s story is one of the many told by Chang’s pictures. In 2008, she came to Taiwan from the Philippines and worked as a caregiver in Taipei County. She was forced to work from morning until night every day, barely getting five hours rest each day, until her sister, also a migrant worker, filed a complaint with the Council of Labor Affairs.

When Rhoda first arrived at the temporary home provided by TIWA, she was timid and filled with questions about her future.

However, she soon began to feel at home after making friends with some of the many Filipino workers staying there.

“We should fight for our right to be treated fairly, like Taiwanese workers. When I think about how my former employers treated me, I am filled with anger,” she said.

“I know what I went through, so I don’t want the same thing to happen to others,” Rhoda said.

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