Today, we serve clients from all around the world. I’ve improved my financial situation and can manage my family very well.
At a very young age, Nasim Us Sabah’s father stopped working and since then his family faced a lot of financial difficulties. It was at this point that his studies also came to an end. In order to reestablish his family’s financial stability, Nasim decided to go abroad in 2017.
He arranged a job in Malaysia through an agency he was introduced to by an acquaintance living in Narayanganj. He spent a total of BDT 410,000 (USD 3,718) for his migration journey– the majority of which had to be paid in cash to the broker. Since his family could not afford this much money, Nasim managed through various means–he borrowed from relatives, took loans from NGOs and also from local moneylenders at very high-interest rates.
In August 2017, he finally departed for Malaysia along with 34 others. Nasim got a job at a renowned fast-food chain in Titiwangsa, Malaysia, where he worked for a minimum of 12 hours a day. As per the contract signed prior to departure, Nasim was expected to be paid an equivalent of BDT 20,000 (USD 181) per month along with food, accommodation and other facilities to be provided by the employer in Malaysia. However, after reaching Malaysia, he soon realized that the reality was very different. As shared by Nasim, he did not receive the salary he was promised, nor any facilities were provided. When he went to talk to the authorities, he saw migrants were being detained and beaten for complaining about their wages.
With a huge debt burden on his head, going back to Bangladesh was not an option. Nasim tried hard to live on that salary.
He recalls eating only a loaf of bread every day for lunch. “I remember in the first three months, I lost about 18 kg of weight”.
Two years passed like this.
When his visa was about to expire, he tried to get it renewed as he was aware that the employers would have greater chance of exploiting him further if he lacked validity in the country. It was at this point that he contacted one of his uncles who arranged to bring him back to Bangladesh.
After returning, Nasim was undoubtedly devastated mentally. Debt was a big burden on him and his family. After spending so much money and effort, coming back empty handed was a matter of great shame for him.
For the first three months after his return, Nasim was too depressed to leave the house and find work. However, he soon realized he had to get himself out and get a job. He started working in a restaurant, but that soon ended due to the lockdown resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.
While in Malaysia, Nasim had developed an interest in web development, but was unable to pursue it then. Along with his day job as a food delivery man, Nasim bought himself a computer and started learning and practicing web designing online.
It was then that he came to know about the REMA(K)ER project, implemented by IOM in partnership with WARBE Development Foundation in Cumilla. When his computer broke, WARBE Development Foundation gave him a computer as in-kind support through the REMA(K)ER project. He also received several trainings on operating a business and online marketing, from the project.
Now, Nasim runs his own company which employs a few other people.
“Today, we serve clients from all around the world. I’ve improved my financial situation and can manage my family very well” he shared with pride.
He also works in this field as a trainer as well. He has future hopes of expanding his business and creating employment opportunities for more people. His biggest wish is to train returnees like him to help them become self-reliant.