HARDLY HANGING ON
ALL PROCEEDS GO TO EDUCATING NEPALI WOMEN
After learning about the thousands of migrant workers who have lost their lives due to unsafe working conditions in the Middle East, I've decided to use my music to help Nepali families gain more independence in their own country.
I've grown up in a country that is, and always has been, so reliant on migrant workers. They build our schools and hospitals, clean our streets and homes, and take care of our children. Thousands of them are forced to leave their homes every year to work low-paid, labourious jobs in the hope of giving their families a better quality of life. They face extremely harsh working conditions due to deception by agencies and employers alike, and are often left without pay for months.
Over the last few years I have been lucky enough to travel to the Asian countries that these migrant workers call home. I've experienced their diverse cultures, food, festivals, and daily lives, and each time I've been overwhelmed at their acceptance and genuine friendliness towards a foreigner. It's a far cry from the reception they get when they arrive in the Middle East.
It was visiting Nepal that really opened my eyes to what these people go through. I spent three weeks living with a family in the remote village of Begnas, beside a stunning lake with views out across the imposing Himalayan mountains; a place nobody should ever have to leave. I learned that Ram, the father, had worked 8 years in Saudi Arabia as a truck driver - earning money to send their children to school and to convert their home into a very modest homestay for travellers.
It was in their simple home that I wrote 'Hardly Hanging On'. Outside my window was a clothesline where the mother, Tara, would hang her washing each afternoon. One morning while it was still empty, I watched an army of little red ants run up and down it, clung to it like a tiny lifeline. Together with my friend Jody, we filmed the ants as they struggled along; some collecting food, others just going about their ant-lives.
We are all living in this world together. Middle Easterners, Central Asians, and red ants all share one goal: we're hanging on, and trying to get by. I was overwhelmed by the simplicity of it.
I chose to donate the proceeds of this song and a couple others to a charity in Nepal committed to the education of women. It was very important for me to choose a charity that does real work to prevent the need of locals to travel abroad. Education helps them make better choices: to be able to read and write gives them freedom in their own country and to escape the cycle of poverty and illiteracy that traps so many of them.