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Social Change through Social Remittance

As remittances can change social structures and cultural practices, the concept of ‘social remittances’- that is, transfers of ideas and attitudes, particularly when migrants return home –is receiving increasing attention. The impact of such social remittances, like the effects of financial remittances on social structures and values is often ambiguous. For example, remittance income may enable girls to complete their schooling, rather than having to leave school early to work in the home or on the farm. The empowerment resulting in this type of social change can increase the aspirations of young women to continue education and training, leading to higher earning in the future.Besides, migration provides opportunities for learning and a stimulus to social innovation by exposing people to different cultures, ideas and values. As Joseph Chamie of the United Nations Population Division explained, ‘you export culture, you export ideas, you export democracy, you export many things which can not be easily valued in terms of dollars and cents[1]’. In this way, migration can lead to political, social and cultural change in the countries of origin as people become aware that other ways of life and other ways of organizing society and politics are possible.

[1] International Development Committee,op.cit.p.65