Flora Womens Mini Marathon in aid of Migrant Rights Centre Ireland
It is that time again - The Annual Flora Women's Mini Marathon takes place on bank holiday Monday June 4, 2012 at 3:00 pm. This year, MRCI's Team Migrants Rights will bring together 75 women from all over the world to walk, jog, run and raise funds for MRCI.
Learn about Layla's story and why we need your support this year...
Layla, a 24-year-old woman from Pakistan came to Ireland in search of a better life and the chance to support her loved ones by sending money back home. She became employed as a live-in child minder with a family in Dublin. Unfortunately, Layla's employers became abusive soon after she was hired. Her strenuous workday began as early as 6:00 am and ended as late as midnight. Forced to work every day of the week , never given any holidays, and not given any regular breaks during her workday - Layla was being exploited and mistreated.
Her every move was strictly controlled and monitored by her employers. She was forbidden from leaving the house and not allowed to contact her family or meet others. When visitors came to the home, Layla was always locked away in her room so no one knew about her. There were countless times when she went hungry because her employers did not provide her with food. She was paid €50.00 every month. That means Layla was paid €1.00 per day for emotionally priceless and very intensive work. There were months when Layla was not paid at all.
Layla reached a breaking point one day when after a disagreement with her employer she was beaten with a stick by her employer. That same night, Layla escaped by jumping out of her second story bedroom window. Without having any place to go, frightened, and not knowing any English, she ran in search of help. In the early hours of the following morning, Layla collapsed in exhaustion on the Luas line. A bystander came to her help and brought her to the Gardai. The Gardaí referred her to the Migrant Rights Centre Ireland (MRCI).
MRCI provided Layla with safe accommodation and filed an employment case against her abusive employers. Not only had Layla's employers mistreated her, they also failed to keep their promise and arrange for Layla's work permit. As a result, Layla had become undocumented. Unfortunately, Layla experienced secondary victimization by the state; as it became almost impossible to access services such as healthcare due to her undocumented status. Even though, Layla was experiencing high levels of trauma and in desperate need of psychiatric care, she was unable to receive the help she needed. After residing at a hostel for a year, MRCI secured a Stamp 1 for Layla giving her the opportunity to find a job and apply for a valid work permit.
Today, Layla is a leader in MRCI's Domestic Workers Action Group-a group of migrant domestic workers who collectively campaign for improved living and working conditions for women employed in private homes in Ireland. The group has given Layla support and a safe space to voice her experiences. In 2011, a number of MRCI staff members travelled to Galway to celebrate Layla's wedding. Due to restrictive visa and immigration policies, Layla's family could not attend the wedding so Layla asked MRCI to speak on behalf of her family. Recently, Layla completed studies in childcare FETAC levels 5 and 6. She is now happily employed in a crèche and is expecting her first child. MRCI and Layla continue to work together.
As this year's mini marathon approaches, place yourself in Layla's shoes and raise funds to support exploited migrant workers and their families across Ireland.
All sponsorship funds raised go to MRCI and will allow us to continue to support the empowerment and inclusion of migrant workers and their families at risk of poverty, social exclusion, and discrimination.
Thank you for making our work possible.