“Helal, a Bangladeshi migrant worker comes over to my house about twice a month to mow the lawn and do some odd jobs. Helal works as a contract worker for the local municipal council. Cleaning the drain and trimming the grass are his daily routine. He does odd jobs to support his living, as a huge portion of his contract salary goes towards repaying his debts with the labour recruitment agency. I have been having an old bicycle lying in my yard for some time, and attempts to get rid of it has been unsuccessful.

One day I casually asked Helal if he would like to take the bicycle. Helal smiled and replied “I have my own bicycle, but one of my fellow friends may need one.” I was happy to give it away, as someone could put it to good use.  But Helal insisted that he would not take it for free.

Helal came up with the suggestion that he would trim the grass and in exchange I could give him the bicycle, instead of the usual wages.  I did try to persuade him to accept it, but Helal was persistent. We agreed but it did not end there.

A few months later after visiting his family in Bangladesh, he returned with gifts for my children. It was an emotional moment that my family especially my children, would not forget.”

The Migration Works Campaign Team
March 2016