CatherineAllertonChildrenMigrationSabahCircleThe children on this website are the children of refugees and migrants living in Kota Kinabalu, the capital city of the Malaysian state of Sabah, in northern Borneo.

A very large percentage of the population of Sabah are migrants and refugees from the neighbouring countries of Indonesia and the Philippines. Many of these migrants have lived in Sabah for decades, working in construction, agriculture, factories, transport and domestic service.

Most of the children whose lives are depicted here were born in Sabah. Nevertheless, children of migrants are considered ‘foreign’ by the Sabahan state and local population, and are unable to access government education or healthcare. Many of these children lack valid identification papers, including birth certificates, and are effectively stateless. Considered ‘unauthorized’ people, they are at constant risk of arrest and deportation.

Yet the difficulties that these children face do not define them.

This website offers a space to consider the diversity of these children’s experiences and perspectives, with the aim of fostering understanding and decreasing anti-migrant prejudice in Sabah.