The Boy with More?

"The Boy with More?" is an animation produced by PositiveNegatives in collaboration with MIDEQ research team in Nepal, NISER, highlighting the impact of migration on migrants abroad and their families back home.

The story is based on NISER’s long engagement with children of migrants and its current work looking in the MIDEQ project. The MIDEQ study was conducted in three districts (geographical regions) to be able to bring in perspectives of different ethnic groups in Nepal. Additional focused workshops with body maps and pathways of dreams exercises were conducted with children in the study areas to ensure that NISER understood their concerns.

The short film delves into the life of Krishna, a teenage boy from Nepal, who experiences the complexities of having more material possessions due to his father's remittances from working in Malaysia. Despite his apparent advantages, Krishna is burdened by a multitude of worries that impede his focus and happiness.

Throughout the animation we see how Krishna's worries begin to accumulate, metaphorically weighing him down. Each concern is explored further, with the film illustrating Krishna's father with a minor injury, implying the dangers of working abroad. Another scene portrays the absence of his father as Krishna sees his classmate's guardian during parent-teacher discussions. Moreover, his family faces judgment from their community given that his father is now in Malaysia.

However, a transformative shift occurs as Krishna articulates his aspirations, bringing a sense of hope and positivity. Each worry starts to fade progressively as Krishna envisions his dreams, particularly his ambition to become a doctor and serve his community. This symbolizes his determination to overcome obstacles and pursue a better future.

Commenting on the animation, Dr Benjamin Worku-Dix, founding director of PositiveNegatives noted:

“This was such a poignant and sensitive project to work on, and a story that we all felt very passionate about telling. I’m so grateful that we had the support and insight from our partners at NISER in Nepal who really managed to shape the story and highlight many of the subtle issues that are often overlooked when thinking of children of migrant workers.”

Dr Anita Ghimire, Co-Investigator in MIDEQ’s Nepal-Malaysia corridor, noted:

"As always, it was great working with Ben and his team at Positive Negatives. The animation tells a complex story in a simple yet extremely powerful way. The artist has done a great job. What really touched me, and what I think is a great tribute to all the local mothers, is the fact that all the background patterns in the animation are derived from the clothes they have worn! Super intelligent and so very thoughtful!"

“The Boy with More?” reflects on the experiences of children whose parents or caregivers migrate without them in the context of Nepal. This work is part of a wider programme of MIDEQ research which also includes Burkina Faso, Egypt and Ethiopia, the findings of which challenge dominant narratives and practices related to children of migrants who “stay behind”. Learn more in our latest discussion paper with UNU-CPR.