I am Not Here

2015 HD

Migrants undergo perilous journeys, risking drowning, deportation, arrest, physical and sexual violence in true hope of finding a place of greater safety and economic opportunity in a distant country. Those who survive the journey become nannies, housekeepers and drivers– ever present yet willing themselves to disappear into the multitudes of the new country. In the best scenario, their dreams become realized, enabling their children’s education. In the worst, stories of horror are rendered reality – locked away in homes by nationals, abused without recourse and kept in fear. This is a film about three distinct women who undertook these perils in hope of a better life.

I am Not Here

Risking their lives, migrants undergo perilous journeys to distant countries for safety and opportunity — I’m Not Here is the story of these aspirations – both realized and broken.

Crew

Director, Editor & Cinematographer
Ashvin Kumar
Co-Producer & Lead Researcher
Christina MacGillivray
Associate Editor & Additional Camera
Christina MacGillivray
Researcher & Shoot Assistant
Aditi Joshi
Sound Design
Roland Heap
Picture Grade
Aman Shukla
Spanish Translation
Jimena Quintana & Carolina Hernandez
Malay Translation
Yen Ne Foo
Post-production Assistants
Sandeep Kr. Singh, Epti Patnaik, Aditi Joshi & Christopher Witschy
Location Assistant
Nora Locher

Fany Flores owned a bakery in Bolivia. When she was pushed to the point of almost burning her husband alive after his relentlessly violent physical assaults on her, she fled to Switzerland. There, she worked as a nanny and housekeeper before being deported – twice—trekking her way back to Switzerland over the Italian Alps.

Fany and Salvatore Di Concilio

Fany is now married to Salvatore, an Italian National and lives in Switzerland legally.

Jennifer Bernard was a bright 14 year-old girl in Trinidad, who worked nights in a matchstick factory to pay for her school books, all the while harbouring dreams of becoming a human rights lawyer. When she was 18 her mother and step father forced her to marry a man much her senior. From that day forward she plotted her escape to New York City.

National Domestic Workers’ Alliance

The National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA) is the leading voice for dignity and fairness for domestic workers in the United States. Founded in 2007, NDWA works for the respect, recognition, and inclusion in labor protections of domestic workers across the country. Our national alliance is powered by 50 affiliate organizations, whose membership is comprised of tens of thousands of nannies, housekeepers, and caregivers for the elderly in 36 cities and 18 states.

NDWA’s programs include national campaigns for women-centric immigration reform (We Belong Together) and the transformation of the home care industry (Caring Across Generations); national movement building for economic justice; national and international alliance-building; state and local policy campaigns; field building and leadership development; care-sector workforce and business development; and research and education. Through training, research, organizing, and social innovations, NDWA is building a vibrant movement for a healthy and sustainable democracy and economy for all low-wage workers.

Danger, deportation, courage and hope – these are stories of the dreams of migrants, both realized and broken, from around the globe.

This seventeen year old’s identity has been withheld due to concerns for her safety from her hostile ex-employers. She was smuggled by an agent into Malaysia from her native Bangladesh as a child. Her passport was immediately confiscated upon arrival, rendering her captive and she fell into the dangerous hands of a profoundly twisted husband and wife. Locked away for years – she finally found the courage to escape her domestic prison.

Liva Sreedharan Tenganita Shelter for Migrants

Life in the shadows | Press Release

… in a new documentary film, I am not here, produced by the UN Human Rights Office, in collaboration with Oscar-nominated director Ashvin Kumar. The film brings to life the harsh reality of undocumented migrant domestic workers through the stories of three women - Flores in Zurich, Jennifer Norgriff-Bernard in New York who left Trinidad to escape poverty and a forced marriage, and a young woman unable to reveal her identity in Kuala Lumpur who was sexually assaulted and beaten by her employers.

Read more life in the shadows