“I am invisible”
Tarik. 16-year old Bangladeshi. Kuala Lumpur 2016.
“People think floors, toilets, roads get cleaned by a magical being. For them, I don’t even exist. We are invisible to them,” says Tarik, a 16-year old Bangladeshi. He has been in Malaysia for more than 2 years. He arrived in Malaysia, thinking that he had qualified for a free scholarship. His passport was soon taken and he was made to work at a construction site. Being just a boy, he could not take the strain and was soon transferred to a mall where he works as a cleaner till today.
Along with 15 Bangladeshis, they live in a store room in the mall. A small window allows some ventilation. There are no mattresses and they all sleep on the floor. They cook for each other. As they are divided into 2 shifts, there is usually a maximum of 8 Bangladeshis in the store room at any one time.
He still has another RM6,000 to pay of a RM17,000 fee to get to Malaysia. He earns RM1,200 a month which allows him to wire money home to pay off his debt.
He cannot go home or rather he won’t. His friends back home are already 3 years ahead of him at school. What will he do then in Bangladesh? He says he won’t return to Bangladesh as he has lost his dignity.
Note: More information can be found at the Migrant88 website or you can reach them at email, an action based NGO aimed at promoting and protecting the dignity and well-being of Bangladeshi migrants (abroad) and their familes at home. Volunteers are always welcome.