NGO events to challenge stereotypes of migrant workers

Taipei A series of events will be held over the next few months to challenge the public about their stereotypes of migrant workers in Taiwan, the organizer said Thursday.

The events will feature migrant workers' talents and creativity in music, art and culinary skills, said Kevin Chen (???), co-founder of nongovernmental organization One-Forty.

Citing the results of a recent survey conducted by the NGO, Chen said that 97 percent of the 345 Taiwanese respondents had difficulty imagining migrant workers having roles other than as blue-collar workers.

"We want to emphasize migrant workers as not only diligent workers but also people who have dreams like you and me," Chen said.

The events will begin with a music festival dubbed "Mixed" on April 4, which will feature a band made up of six Indonesian workers, as well as showcase a Filipino worker who uses recycled materials to design clothes.

Jaya, the Indonesian vocalist from the Uni Band, said he hopes the event at the Huashan 1914 Creative Park will introduce Indonesian-style music to a Taiwanese audience.

Having stayed in Taiwan for over 10 years, the worker from Miaoli County said he practices every week in Taichung with other band members, who come from as far away as Yunlin and Changhua counties, among other places.

In addition to the migrant workers, Taiwanese band Bisiugroup and aboriginal singer Suming Rupi will attend the fair, Chen said.

"It could be a music festival that people have difficulty understanding, but music is without borders," said Jaya.

There will also be an event on April 25 in which Indonesian worker Umy and Taiwanese pastry chef Huang Jie (??) will exchange recipes and cooking stories with each other.

One-Forty was established in 2015 to focus on vocational training for migrant workers in Taiwan, to give them the skills they could use for their future endeavors in their home countries after they finish working in Taiwan.

There were about 710,000 migrant workers employed in the household service or manufacturing sectors in Taiwan as of the end of January, according to Ministry of Labor statistics.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel