UN World Youth Report


Monday, 23 September 2013 15:06

Migration and Youth left behind

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NOTE: The Week 4 e-consultation is now CLOSED. It is no longer possible to add new comments. For those of you who have not had time to read all of the comments from this e-consultation, please click here to download the summary of the discussion.



Congratulations to all the young people who have provided comments to the discussions so far!!! For those who are joining us for the first time, welcome to the fourth week of our e-discussion on youth migration. You have the opportunity to answer the questions for today and yesterday's. During the past weeks, young people have shared their ideas, stories and experience on the pre-migration process, staying in transit, their experiences in destination countries as well as how migration affects them when they choose to return or not return to their country of origin.

From 14-18 February 2013, we will discuss the challenges and opportunities that young people face when they are left behind by their migrant parents (Please scroll down this page for today's questions and comment below).

Your ideas and comments on the questions below will contribute directly to the forthcoming UN World Youth Report 2013. Usually 2-3 questions relating to the issue at hand will be posted each day for this consultation. This e-discussion is moderated by Michael Boampong and our guest moderator and Abby Generalia. Our moderators will be online to keep the discussion active. Please note that in responding to the questions below we encourage you to share your ideas and personal experiences, especially if you are a young migrant, return migrant, a child/relative of a migrant or a young person with ideas on the subject being discussed.

Meet the Moderators:

Michael Boampong, Lead moderator

Michael Boampong has been actively engaged in youth development and migration issues since 2005. He has worked with a range of civil society organizations, youth networks and international agencies such as UNDP and UNICEF in the design and implementation of policy and field oriented initiatives that promote rights based approaches to migration, poverty reduction, social inclusion and justice.


Abby Generalia, Guest moderator

Abby Generalia was one of the finalists to The 2011 World Bank International Essay Competition on Youth Migration. Her interest on migration issues was mainly drawn from her experience as a child of an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW). Abby obtained a Bachelor's degree in Journalism from the University of the Philippines and is currently in the institution’s Master’s program in Asian Studies. Her research interests include migration, tourism, environmental policies, soft power, media and popular culture. She also currently works for the World Health Organization Western Pacific Regional Office in Manila.



The e-consultations is coordinated by the UN Focal Point on Youth and is opened to all young people (15-35 years) interested in migration and development issues.

Please introduce yourself when you post a comment by indicating your Name (first name & initial of last name if preferred), Age, Sex, Country and Youth Organisation (if applicable).

We welcome comments in Spanish and French and have installed a Google translate for translation purposes (see above).

For technical issues, please write to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

For a number of reasons, including the desire to improve their family’s economic and social conditions, many parents and caretakers choose to their leave children and families behind in their country of origin for better prospects in other countries.

Often the children (including young people age 15-35 years) of migrants are left in the care of their spouses, immediate relatives, or close friends. Others who find themselves with no caretakers for their children make the difficult decision to leave their children to care for themselves.

The phenomenon of transnational families - families whose members spend a significant portion of time separated from each other in different countries - contradicts the traditional concept of family which is that of a single household of family members playing particularly norm-dictated familial roles. However, studies show that in many cases, children of migrants are particularly impacted by their parent’s physical absence. While the situation may prove to have a positive impact on young people’s social and economic status, they may suffer emotional, psychological and social consequences of their parent’s absence. There are also potential negative outcomes in which sometimes young people left behind may be left to face intimidation and abuse at the hands of others as well as the emotional, psychological and social consequences of their parent’s absence.

Your experiences, views and opinions on this issue are most welcome. We would appreciate hearing from you with regard to the questions below:



Day/theme Questions
14 February 2013 (Migration and transnationalism)
  1. Are you a member of a transnational family? What was your reaction when you first found out about your parent/parents decision to migrate? Did you feel the decision was necessary?
  2. Who cared for you in your parent’s absence? How would you describe your life satisfaction during the time spent with the caretaker? Were you assigned additional responsibilities?
  3. Did your parents migrate regularly or irregularly? From your or other youth’s experience – is there a noticeable difference for children of documented versus undocumented migrants? If yes, please explain
15 February 2013 (Opportunities and challenges of transnationalism)
  1. Do feel comfortable or stressed with your parent/parents living abroad? How has the migration of your parent/parents changed your socio-economic status in your country? What has been the positive and negative consequences of your parent/parents absence on your personal development? For example, how do you think this has affected your education, health and social condition?
  2. Drawing from your own or other young people’s experiences, how do you think a transnational family impacts intergenerational relationships (eg. your relationship with your migrant parent/parents, your relationship with your aunt or uncle who is now taking care of you, siblings, etc.) within a family?
  3. Have you noticed any changes in the gender roles played by the members of your family? For example, if your mother is currently abroad and your father is the one taking care of you and doing all the household chores, how does you, or your community more generally, perceive such changes? Or For example, if your father is currently abroad does your mother bring in more income; does she take more part in your education? Do you notice other changes?
17 February 2013 (Migration, communication and remittances)
  1. How often did/do you communicate with your migrant parent/s and how did you do so? For instance did you communicate daily, weekly or monthly, etc.? Did you use telephone, email, postal mails to communicate, etc.?
  2. How often did/do your parent/s send you money or other presents? What did you use the money for? For instance did you receive money or goods (such as cloths, toys and books) weekly, monthly or yearly? Did you use the money to pay for schools fees and other education costs, buy cloths, etc.?
  3. What did/do you send to your parents or family member living abroad? For instance did/do you send them photos, gifts, drawings, examples of school work, tape recordings or videos, etc.?
18 February 2013 (Policy and practice: recommendations for action)
  1. To what extent are youth organizations as well as government and non-governmental organizations addressing psycho-social impacts of migration on young people who have to grown up with physically absent parent/parents? Can you think of any particular programs launched by government or non-government organizations in this direction? For instance are you aware of any special programs for guardians of children of migrants or any programs that allow young people to work with other stakeholders to develop projects that promote access to special education; provide financial literacy for saving of remittances; and offer communication technologies that support families to maintain relationships across borders?
  2. What do you think young people including youth organizations like you can do to assist other young people from transnational families to reduce the negative impacts of migration on their lives?
  3. What recommendations do you have for government and civil society to address issues involving young people left behind by their migrant parent/parents?
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The UN Focal Point on Youth aims to build awareness of the global situation of young people, as well as promote their rights and aspirations, working toward greater participation of young people in decision-making as a means for achieving peace and development.

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