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Malayali Nurses - Lifeline of Keralites Abroad

Malayali nurses, known for their enterprise and dedication, have led their families to far away Europe and most today are the sole bread earners with their men content to play// house-husband.

One could just twist the adage 'Behind every successful man, there is a woman' - to read - 'There is a nurse behind the success and prosperity of each family' to suit the European Malayalis.

A seven-day trip to Europe - during which I met around 200 people from Kerala settled in Austria, Switzerland or Germany - revealed how Malayali women contribute to their own families, their homeland as well as the country they live in.

There was one common feature among the Kerala families I met in Europe. Most were brought to Europe, some to earn a living abroad and some for a better future, through a nurse - either a wife or sister or mother - who had migrated to these countries at a time when Europe was desperately looking for trained nurses.

It could be a Malayali industrialist who has found success in Germany, or a well-to-do businessman in Vienna or an engineer in Switzerland - invariably his entry to Europe has been through a nurse.

In the Malayali gatherings too 90 percent of the women one gets to meet are nurses. Interestingly, one sees that many of the men have not yet been able to establish themselves, and the family's financial security depends on the nurse and her salary.

"In many cases, the husbands come here and take care of the children and when the children grow up they take up small jobs. The men have more time to socialise. Actually that's one reason Malayali organisations abroad are mushrooming," said Mathew, who works in Germany. According to Mathew, Europe has more than 50 Kerala associations under different names.

"The Malayali community here owes a great deal to its women. When there was a law stopping them from getting married outside Switzerland, the Christian girls from Kerala wa
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