Balinese worker says she’s sick and stranded in Turkey in plea for help to return home

Bali migrant worker Ayu Vira being treated at a hospital in Turkey. Photo: Handout
Bali migrant worker Ayu Vira being treated at a hospital in Turkey. Photo: Handout

One of Bali’s own has issued an impassioned plea for help from President Joko Widodo, in which she opened up about her struggles living as a migrant worker in Turkey.

Bangli native I Gusti Ayu Vira Wijayantri, 23, wrote that she has been working as a therapist in several spas in Turkey for more than a year. After months of being overworked and underpaid, she was hospitalized after vomiting blood due to an unspecified lung and stomach condition in July.

Ayu Vira said that she was promised high income in Turkey prior to leaving Bali. However, she received less than she was promised and had inhumane working hours, leaving no leisure time. Because of this, Ayu Vira had great difficulty in affording basic necessities, like food and medication. 

“There’s a virus in my lungs, and I have not gone for a treatment for my stomach, as the hospital fees are far too expensive,” she explained on Monday. “I am also supporting my mom by working, but since I am sick, I feel conflicted on what to do.”

Amid the struggle, Ayu Vira sent an open letter to President Jokowi, asking for his help to bring her home to Bali. 

While there are no reports that the president has responded to Ayu Vira’s letter, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it is coordinating with the Indonesian embassy in Ankara to facilitate her repatriation

The ministry is also looking into whether or not Ayu Vira was a victim of a migrant worker scam, luring victims with false promises of great jobs with high pay abroad.

In the meantime, Ayu Vira is receiving support from her friends, who have provided her with food.

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