By Iren Bencze, November 17, 2008
On November 8, 2008, a handful of ladies gathered at the first Meeting of Migrant Women in Budapest, representing seven cultures of the world: Australian, Chinese, Cuban, Hungarian, Polish Romanian, and Russian. One aim of the meeting was to collect firsthand information about the status of migrant women in Hungary, and to identify some of the problems they face in the country. Legal status, access to education, employment and decent paychecks all came into picture as the conversation went on, yet when it came to participation in public life, something amazing surfaced. Regardless of how long they were in the country or how well they spoke Hungarian, these ladies were already actively contributing to the Hungarian society, supporting their local communities, helping their fellow countrymen to find balance between integrating into the Hungarian society and keeping the traditions of their homeland as well.
The atmosphere reminded me of a conversation I had with a Hungarian friend of mine, while we were migrant women in the US. One of the sayings in our American community was that no man is required to run faster than he can. To which we would usually respond with a grin and an unspoken thought, “Nevermind that I have to keep the pace with my hands and feet tied up” (with poverty, language barrier, and legal status, to name just a few). Here I was in Hungary, surrounded by sisters from the four corners of the earth, and they too radiated the same kind of dedication, stamina, and proactivity; that same will and power to succeed and to make the world a better place to live in.
Balancing work and family? Surviving among foreign laws in a foreign culture? Sometimes facing double discrimination as foreigners AND as women? Fine, bring it on, people, we still have more to give. And we will continue giving.
Join our ranks
Hungarian Association for Migrants
Alfavit Culture and Education Foundation
Puszta Rádió Kunszentmiklós FM 89.9