Migration Diaries

The story of a girl who sacrificed her smile
Authors: Gauri Behera
Languages Known
Father, Mother, Younger Brother, 2 Older Sisters
Migrated From
Purunabandha, Ganjam, Odisha
Migrated To
Singarayakonda, Andhra Pradesh
Types of Work
Shrimp processing factory


Reason for Migration


She returns to her village for a month, only during the vacation granted by her company during Dussehra. At eighteen, Seema ought to be living with her family in the coastal village of Purunabandha in Ganjam district. Still, circumstances have brought her miles away from home, as a migrant worker to the neighboring state of Andhra Pradesh.

Seema is the third child of her parents. With two older sisters now married, she is left to fend for her father and mother and a younger brother. Her father, Sriram, a fisherman from this estuarine fishing village, does not own his boat or net but joins others for fishing, taking home a small share of any profit earner or fish caught. Seema’s mother, Rashmi, has been paralyzed for the last two and a half years, adding sudden and significant stress on the family’s modest resources.

When she was healthy, Rashmi, a fish vendor, would travel from village to village selling dried fish.

Seema at the beginning of her job within the shrimp industry as a fishworker. Photo by her friend.

Her father’s meager earnings made it incredibly challenging to support the family. Seema recalls that she was forced to discontinue her studies midway. Purchasing medicines for her mother, paying for the younger brother’s education, and managing the household’s everyday expenses became impossible on just Sriram’s uncertain daily income. Seema joined a few other young women from her village and traveled to Singarayakonda in Andhra Pradesh to start work at a shrimp processing company.

Her selfie shows the skin problems she developed after a few months of work. 

Photo by Seema


Seema earns nine thousand rupees each month which is a huge relief for her family, but it still is not enough. After deducting her own basic expenses for food and essentials, she only manages to send five to six thousand rupees to her parents in the village which brings some support but is just a fraction of what the family needs.

Seema and young women like her face various difficulties at Singarayakonda their workplace. Eating daily at the company canteen, she misses eating healthy, nutritious and wholesome home cooked food since there is no cooking facility in her accommodation.  She also has to take care of herself all by herself since no other worker can afford to help her and medicines are costly. Young Seema carries on despite these problems, knowing that it makes only the smallest difference to her family whose financial struggles persist despite the long absence of their daughter and her smile.

Names have been changed to protect identities of individuals.


Seema recalls that she was forced to discontinue her studies midway.

Seema’s mother, back home in their village. Photo by Gauri Behera.

The story has been contributed with the full consent of the author(s), following ethical protocols as detailed in our ‘Contribute’ section. Migration Diaries takes no responsibility for the veracity of the information contained.