EXPANDING OPPORTUNITIES FOR MIGRANT WOMEN WORKERS IN CHINA
June 12, 2008 — One of the driving forces behind China’s economic rise is its more than 200 million migrant workers, many of them women. Most of these migrant workers are between 18 and 25 years old, single, and have only secondary-level education. They often work long hours on assembly lines in labor-intensive export sectors such as toys, garments, footwear, or plastics. For nine years, The Asia Foundation, with the support of corporate partners, has worked to broaden services for these women in various capacities and in many regions.
In 2005, with the support of the May Department Stores Company, the Foundation launched the first vocational school and university scholarship program for migrant women workers in China. In 2007, Macy’s Inc. supported the replication of this program in Nanjing. In March, representatives from the Foundation, along with Henry Lau, Financial Controller for Macy’s Merchandising Group Asia and Europe, attended the graduation ceremony for 36 scholarship recipients sponsored by Macy’s Inc. The young women each gave a presentation about what the scholarship had enabled them to do. Many spoke about being the first in their families to attend college, being able to pursue their biggest dreams, and feeling empowered by the ability to give back to the world and their families through their newfound skills.
ELECTIONS IN NEPAL
The Asia Foundation provided support and technical assistance for monitoring during Nepal’s groundbreaking Constituent Assembly elections held on April 10. More than 60,000 ballot boxes from across districts in remote terrain were collected, and votes for 601 seats had to be counted. A popular uprising in 2006 overthrew the government of King Gyanendra and cleared the way for a formal peace process involving Maoist rebels and mainstream political parties. The newly elected members were sworn in at the end of May and are expected to soon begin rewriting the country’s constitution.
GALA BENEFITS THE FIGHT AGAINST HUMAN TRAFFICKING
The Asian Chefs Association presented the Chefs Without Borders Gala on March 21 in San Francisco. Forty of San Francisco’s top chefs cooked for the 650 people who attended and raised $75,000 for programs to fight human trafficking in Asia. Give2Asia and The Asia Foundation were philanthropic sponsors for the event, and Marielle Sander Lindstrom, the Chief of Party for the Counter-Trafficking in Persons Program (CTIP) in Cambodia, represented the Foundation and presented a new CTIP campaign. Give2Asia is now working with the Foundation’s Vietnam office on a proposal for supporting vocational training and scholarships in communities within the Mekong River Delta.