Child health and migrant parents in Southeast Asia 

Theodora Choy Lam Fong

- completed -

For millions of families across Asia, international labor migration has become part of a household livelihood strategy, motivated by a desire to improve the life chances of the next generation. Yet, there has been relatively little research on transnational house-holding or the impacts of parental migration on children who stay behind in Southeast Asia. In this context, in 2008, the international research team first set out to collect survey data from approximately 1,000 households in four countries (Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam) as part of an investigation into “Child Health and Migrant Parents in South-East Asia” (CHAMPSEA). In the following year, the team continued with qualitative, in-depth interviews with approximately 50 carers in each study country, as well as structured interviews with 32 Indonesian and Filipino children (16 per country) aged 9 to 11. Further qualitative interviews focusing specifically on the gendered narratives of 20 households comprising return migrants, left-behind carers and left-behind children in Indonesia and the Philippines, were conducted by Theodora between 2009 and 2012 to explore changing gender subjectivities (both masculinities and femininities), the web of care, and relationships within the family in the wake of labor migration.

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