Auteur: Dr T V Thomas
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A response to Sadiri Joy Tira’s "The Diaspora Dollar"
Dr. Joy Tira focuses on a widely held myth by people especially in developed countries of the West that Diaspora people, particularly migrant workers are a burden to host nations. This sentiment is frequently expressed in tough economic times. What is often forgotten is that most migrant workers were recruited to be employed because they were needed for their skills and expertise in the host countries. It is a well-known fact that migrant workers and First Generation immigrants are hard-working and they help build the infrastructure of society, stimulate the economy and contribute to the Gross National Product of the host countries. The myth of migrants being a burden to host countries is largely unfounded and needs to be dispelled as Dr. Tira does.
The level of poverty of migrant workers and First Generation immigrants varies greatly depending upon their income levels which are job- specific and region-specific. A construction laborer in a Gulf country is paid differently from those who are paid in Afghanistan, Canada, Singapore or Ireland. Professionals whose degrees and qualifications are duly recognized earn different amounts depending upon whether they are employed in Australia, Germany, Nigeria or Brazil. Usually the immigrants earn more than their counterpart migrant workers from the same country. Even migrant workers generating the lowest income in the host countries are often not as poor as their colleagues in their homelands. Therefore, poverty is relative.
The statistics that Dr. Tira supplies from the December 2011 World Bank Report are quite staggering. The total official remittances of migrant workers flowing back to developing countries is $351 billion. Yes, the vast percentage of these funds is sent to sustain the nuclear and extended family, some goes as relief and emergency assistance in disaster situations and some goes to support their “spiritual homes”. What is not mentioned are the significant amounts some send back to finance political causes. I anticipate the might of Diaspora dollars will only increase with the escalating growth of Diaspora movements.
Dr. Tira’s primary focus is to address the stewardship of the largely untapped “collective” financial resources of the Diaspora Christian communities. Tira is biblical in his emphasis and practical in his four proposals.
May we diligently work at making these proposals global realities.
Dr. T.V. Thomas Originally from Malaysia, Dr. T.V. Thomas studied in Malaysia, India, Canada and the United States. He has served as a licensed evangelist of the Christian & Missionary Alliance since 1974. He is Founder and Director of the Centre for Evangelism & World Mission in Regina, Canada where he makes his home with wife, Mary and their three grown children, Victor, Molly and Melanie.
For over three decades T.V. has enjoyed trans-denominational and transcontinental ministry of speaking, teaching and networking. From 1984 to 1994 Dr. Thomas served as the Professor of the Murray W. Downey Chair of Evangelism at Canadian Theological Seminary. He currently serves on numerous national and international boards including being Chair of the Board of Directors of Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship of Canada and Scripture Union Canada, Co-Chair of the International Network of South Asian Diaspora Leaders (INSADL), Interim Chair of Ethnic America Network (EAN) and member of the Advisory Board of Global Diaspora Network (GDN).