The children growing up in a ‘motherless village’

Rebecca Henschke - BBC News

"In eastern Indonesia there are areas where almost all young mothers have gone to work abroad. Indonesians refer to these communities as the 'motherless villages,'" according to this article from the BBC. The article tells the stories of families in East Lombok, Indonesia whose mothers move abroad, to Saudi Arabia or other countries, to find work as domestic workers or nannies in order to support their children back home. "If my mum hadn't left for Saudi Arabia we wouldn't have enough money to live," said one daughter of a woman who went to work abroad.

One woman, Suprihati, has set up a support group "in the hope of creating a replacement family for the children left behind." "Growing up being looked after by a relative is very different from having your mother around. It's a different kind of love. The children tend to become withdrawn and lose confidence," she says. 

The article explores the impacts of this family separation on the women and children, as well as the ways in which the women are made vulnerable without legal protections in the countries where they are working. But it also shines a light on the benefits of the financial support these women have been able to provide to their families back in Indonesia, allowing their children to pursue university degrees and have access to things they wouldn't have before.