Workers at the Tribhuwan International Airport in Kathmandu unload the body of Pramila Dangol from a plane that arrived from the Gulf. Dangol was a migrant worker who worked as a housemaid in Kuwait and had died a little over four months ago. Image by Anup Kaphle. Nepal, 2013.
Relatives of Pramila Dangol collect her coffin at the airport terminal in Kathmandu. The exact cause of her death was unknown although reports said she died because of “insufficient oxygen.” Image by Anup Kaphle. Nepal, 2013.
Rajiv Dangol, 18, performs the last rites to cremate the body of his mother, after her body was flown in from Kuwait to Kathmandu in November. Image by Anup Kaphle. Nepal, 2013.
Pramila Dangol’s body lay wrapped in a cloth as neighbors came to pay respect with flowers before her body was cremated. Her body was left unclaimed in Kuwait for three months before her family found out about her death. Image by Anup Kaphle. Nepal, 2013.
Relatives light fire to the pile of wood where Dangol’s body is rested for cremation. Her uncle said she’d sent about $370 home for her children in the summer of 2013. Image by Anup Kaphle. Nepal, 2013.
A Nepali woman stands outside the Department of Foreign Employment in Kathmandu to get help with her application for an employment permit to work in the Gulf. According to the Nepal Institute of Development Studies, over 225,000 female migrant workers work in Gulf countries. Image by Anup Kaphle. Nepal, 2013.
A woman lines up to retriev her passport after receiving an employment permit by the government of Nepal, outside the Department of Foreign Employment in Kathmandu. Only 60,000 migrant women working in the Gulf have been documented in the last seven years. Many like Dangol find illegal channels and pay a large amount of money to find work abroad. Image by Anup Kaphle. Nepal, 2013.
Dangol’s son, Rajiv, will finish high school next year. He says his dream is to become a cook in the hotel business, but, given poor employment opportunities at home, he will be heading to one of the Gulf nations to find work. Image by Anup Kaphle. Nepal, 2013.

Abused by her husband who drank night and day and unable to earn enough money to take care of her family, Pramila Dangol decided to go to Kuwait for work. A year later, her body came back in a coffin.

Dangol was among hundreds of Nepalis who leave the country to work in the Gulf every day—and among half a dozen dead bodies that return every week. The exact cause of her death was unknown although reports said she died because of “insufficient oxygen.”

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A special election in Nepal fuels hope for an end to years of gridlock but thousands of Nepalis are voting with their feet—leaving the country in pursuit of better opportunities.

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April 2, 2014 / Untold Stories
Anup Kaphle
Lack of opportunities at home has led thousands of young Nepalis to leave the country for low-skill jobs in the wealthy countries of the Persian Gulf.
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