Erik

Erik, 11, is a Bugis boy whose father works as a taxi driver. He has visited his village in Indonesia several times, and hopes to play football for Manchester United in the future.

“This is my father’s taxi. He works all day, every day.”

“This is my father’s taxi. He works all day, every day.”

"Every afternoon, all the people in the neighbourhood play football together. They are Bugis, Filipino, Kadazan."

“Every afternoon, all the people in the neighbourhood play football together. They are Bugis, Filipino, Kadazan.”

Mimi

Mimi, 13, lives with her older sister near an abandoned factory. Both of Mimi’s Adonaran parents sleep at their places of work, only returning to the house on Saturday evenings.

 

“This is my beloved dog, who is called Pop. But he has died on 30.03.2013.”

“This is my beloved dog, who is called Pop. But he has died on 30.03.2013.”

“These are some chickens in the factory where my father and older sister work.”

“These are some chickens in the factory where my father and older sister work.”

“This is the church where we go every Sunday.”

“This is the church where we go every Sunday.”

“This is a lizard that comes to the rubbish at the back of our house. I am scared of it.”

“This is a lizard that comes to the rubbish at the back of our house. I am scared of it.”

Rensi

Rensi, 10, lives next to a large quarry, but dislikes the noise of lorries and machinery near her house. She was born in Flores, Indonesia, when her mother took a trip home from her job as a domestic worker.

“Here I am in my older sister’s room. Aren’t I beautiful?”

“Here I am in my older sister’s room. Aren’t I beautiful?”

“This is my little sister. She is called Angelina, you can just call her Lina. She only wears boys’ clothes. She is nice but she is also the naughtiest child in the world.”

“This is my little sister. She is called Angelina, you can just call her Lina. She only wears boys’ clothes. She is nice but she is also the naughtiest child in the world.”

 

Malik

Malik, 12, is of Yakan ethnicity and has twelve siblings. His parents were originally from Tawi-Tawi in the southern Philippines. He works every evening selling drinks in a market, to help support his widowed mother.

“I feel shy when lots of people look at me. My mother loves me because I work. I like my mother. I am happy.”

“I feel shy when lots of people look at me. My mother loves me because I work. I like my mother. I am happy.”

"This picture is on our wall."

“This picture is on our wall.”

"Our chickens."

“Our chickens.”

Melki

Melki, 11, has a large extended family, from Tana Toraja. He attends an informal learning centre for the children of Indonesian migrants. His teenage brother is already working, in a plastics factory.

"These are my younger brother's toys. They are called Ultraman."

“These are my younger brother’s toys. They are called Ultraman.”

"This is my house, isn't it beautiful? We live near a tyre factory."

“This is my house, isn’t it beautiful? We live near a tyre factory.”

Dian

Dian, 11, has a Javanese mother and a father from Solor in eastern Indonesia. She lives in workers’ housing next to a poultry farm, enjoys playing with dolls and can speak three languages.

"This is my older sister's child. She likes watching cartoons."

“This is my older sister’s child. She likes watching cartoons.”

"My sisters will cook this fish."

“My sisters will cook this fish.”

"This is a picture of my house."

“This is a picture of my house.”

Flora

Flora, 12, lives at the back of the welding workshop where her father is employed. She briefly attended primary school in eastern Indonesia, but moved back to Sabah when her grandmother became too ill to care for her.

"This is my old house. It is important to me and I love it, but I am always just inside the house because I have no friends where I live."

“This is my old house. It is important to me and I love it, but I am always just inside the house because I have no friends where I live.”

"I really like it when we have a Christmas tree and we turn on the lights in the evening. It is beautiful, all the colours are like a rainbow."

“I really like it when we have a Christmas tree and we turn on the lights in the evening. It is beautiful, all the colours are like a rainbow.”

Jeri

Jeri, 10, has Suluk parents from the southern Philippines. He worries about his mother, who has breathing difficulties, but is too scared of arrest to visit a doctor.

"This is all the chicken and other food that has been brought inside the little mosque. We are having a feast because it is almost fasting month."

“This is all the chicken and other food that has been brought inside the little mosque. We are having a feast because it is almost fasting month.”

"We live in the mangrove trees. There is lots of rubbish and it smells. Our house has fallen into the water four times."

“We live in the mangrove trees. There is lots of rubbish and it smells. Our house has fallen into the water four times.”

Bobby

Bobby, 13, is a Suluk teenager who is not sure whether he has ever been to the Philippines. His family work as wedding entertainers. None of them have any identity documents.

"No comment."

“No comment.”

"This is a food stall in the village."

“This is a food stall in the village.”

Asma

Asma, 10, is a Suluk girl whose grandparents came to Sabah as refugees from the southern Philippines. The squatter village where she was living when I knew her in 2012-13 has since been demolished.

"Everything in Sabah is good. There is no war here."

“Everything in Sabah is good. There is no war here.”

"I work selling my grandmother's snacks in the neighbourhood."

“I work selling my grandmother’s snacks in the neighbourhood.”