12th March 2019
By Tom Law

Meera Ravi’s columns on migrant workers in Bahrain

April to December 2018

Meera Ravi’s fortnightly column appears in the Gulf Daily News, Bahrain’s leading English-language tabloid. Below are a collection of her columns dealing with migrant worker and expatriate issues from April to December 2018 published as part of the fellowship.

No licence to offend – April 15, 2018

This column focuses on why it was not right to create a shorter validity for expat driving licenses since it affects their mobility and livelihood.

Romance & the Sponsor – May 13, 2018

This column looked at how many sponsors, largely of Asian and Arab origin, place severe restrictions on their women domestic workers’ movements under the pretext of protecting them from unwanted romances. It came in the wake of a tragic and mysterious death of a young Indian maid, whose sponsor had denied her the right to meet her husband who was working in a restaurant in Bahrain.

The sacrifices of nurses – May 27, 2018

This column points out that often the role of expatriate women who were the core of the MENA region’s healthcare and education framework are never given any credit as pioneering nation-builders.


Are we fudging our report card? – July 8, 2018

In this column, Meera discussed how a lack of proper data and an over-enthusiasm to project an optimistic growth rate despite ominous signs otherwise is leading to lack of preparedness in tackling problems such as large-scale retrenchment of expats, non-payment of salary.


Let’s stop the mind games – July 22, 2018

There has been a wave of suicides among expats in Bahrain. This column tackles the need for a holistic approach to mental healthcare with as much emphasis and ease of access as we now have for physical ailments.

The Gulf must help Kerala – August 19, 2018

Against the backdrop of the terrible floods that affected the South Indian state of Kerala, this column talks of the contribution of the people of this state to the Gulf region as they are the maximum number of migrants and how the Arabs must now help them.

A difficult decision – September 2, 2018

In this column, Meera discussed how the government’s discussion to limit family visa to expats earning a minimum of BD 400 is actually a sensible one.

Death traps are under the radar – October 14, 2018

This column was a reaction to a terrible fire at an illegal labour accommodation in a dilapidated building that took five lives. The column calls for strict action against errant landlords.

Downsizing for a fuller life – November 11, 2018

After a friend’s plans for a well-planed retirement was thrown into chaos by illness, I wrote this column about how expats must constantly downsize so that they are ready for any eventuality – this column elicited some pretty emotional responses from readers.

Carrying our past with us – November 25, 2018

This column discussed the complex cultural lessons being imbibed by expat children who see their parents acting out an ‘80s time warp while being exposed to a millennial present.

Now’s the time for compassion – January 20, 2019

Against the backdrop of rapidly rising prices, this column discusses how unscrupulous business owners are cheating employees by sending them on leave and cancelling their work and residence permits when they are away to avoid paying their settlements and back wages. I have suggested that the government should make it mandatory for employees to be present and a party to their pink slips.

Read the full article here: http://www.gdnonline.com/Details/470996

Special Issue on Expatriate Businesses – Salaam Bahrain

In December 2018, Meera spearheaded, supervised and edited a Special Issue of her magazine Salaam Bahrain for the Bahrain National Day, featuring 11 Asian-founded business houses that had helped to build modern Bahrain. The idea was to focus the narrative on the contribution of expatriates whose vast contributions to Bahrain’s progress are sometimes not properly recorded, although informally acknowledged.

Read the magazine here: https://issuu.com/salaambahrain/docs/issu-pages-deleted

These articles were published with support from the Fairway Fellowship, an initiative of the Ethical Journalism Network and International Labour Organization to support quality reporting on labour migration in the Middle East.