Migrant Workers: How to help Singapore’s unsung heroes
Throughout the past month, the number of Covid-19 patients in Singapore has surged. Worryingly, the vast majority of those infected have been Singapore’s migrant workers living in dormitories. To curb the spread, these accommodations have been declared as isolation areas and unsurprisingly, many have also been identified as Covid-19 clusters.
The climbing toll aside — at publishing, Singapore has the highest number of cases in Southeast Asia — the Covid-19 outbreak has also brought migrant workers’ cramped living conditions to light globally. Many Singaporeans came to truly understand the living situation of the country’s 400,000 migrant workers for the first time, including financial insecurity and lack of access to healthcare, on top of cramped conditions.
A silver lining is that many in the local community started to ask the same question: how can I help our unsung heroes? Studies have shown that how we choose to spend our money or time impacts our happiness and emotional well-being. Evidently, giving to those less privileged than us activates the reward area of the brain which makes us feel happy.
A number of volunteer-run organisations as well as charities in Singapore have rallied together to assist our migrant workers with daily necessities while they’re in isolation; from monetary contributions, donation drives for meals, snacks, beverages, games, clothing, data cards and more are also ongoing in our city. We’ve highlighted some ways that you can help. We ask that you consider extending a helping hand to our migrant workers who build our roads, our buildings, and ultimately, our city — for which, we are deeply grateful.
- Migrant x Me is a social enterprise that is committed to raising awareness of the migrant worker community. Continuing to build an inclusive Singapore through fundraising efforts, donations go towards long-term education programmes, emergency funds for workers in need, future events to bridge the local and migrant communities. Throughout this pandemic, the money has also gone towards forming care packages including data top ups, vitamins and masks.
- Healthserve is a non-profit organisation dedicated to providing healing and hope to migrant workers. Through their medical clinics, casework, social assistance, advocacy, research and outreach programmes they work to address the complex and intertwined needs of migrant workers – from medical to legal, physical to emotional, mental to social. All donations from 10th April will be directed to HealthServe’s general fund to support their operations that helps more than 10,000 migrant workers every year. All outright cash donations for $50 or more will receive from IRAS 2.5 times the value in tax-deduction.
- Migrant Workers’ Centre is a non-government organisation whose mission is to champion fair employment practices and the well-being of Singapore’s migrant workers. MWC has set up a fundraising campaign where charitable donations will go towards food and accommodation costs as well as everyday essentials such as toiletries. It has also partnered with Alliance of Guest Workers Outreach to distribute care meals and packs to more than 250 dormitories.
- TWC2 is a non-profit organisation that is dedicated to promoting equitable treatment for migrant workers, they strive to help workers through difficulty and throughout this pandemic they have been assisting in a number of different ways. You can donate through their giving page and the money goes towards phone top-ups so that the workers can speak to their families and friends back home.
- Majulah Belanja has joined together with other charities to raise funds and collect goods. The charity is focusing on addressing immediate needs such as food, basic necessities, promoting meaningful occupational engagement for health & well-being and consolidating resources for an online support hub. Volunteers can assist to ensure that the needs of those in Singapore’s dormitories are met through answering requests on their website – from phone chargers, to fans and toiletries.
- ItsRainingRaincoats is an initiative that aims to spread kindness to migrant workers in Singapore by improving the lives of workers through imaginative, innovative and authentic strategies. They recently launched Mad Wish, Making A Difference While I Stay Home. At this time, where migrant workers are stuck in isolation and the vast majority of the Singapore workforce works from home, the organisation launched a remote programme for learning English. As many migrant workers have expressed interest in improving their English, it is an ideal time to skill up. Conducted purely online, anyone can volunteer as long as you can speak English and can spare 45 minutes a week!
- City of Good is a vision of a Singapore where individuals, organisations and leaders come together to give their best for others. It is run by the National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre. The #SGUnited portal has been put together by NVPC after consulting with charities on their needs. There is also an online form specifically for donating in-kind to migrant workers.
- It’s Raining Raincoats is also pooling volunteers and resources together to match donors and migrant workers. They update their social media channels regularly as they have their ear to the ground on changing daily needs. For more information on how you can help, follow their social media channels for details on donating goods such as old phones, games, colouring pencils and more.
- #CYC300kMaskChallenge is run by heritage made-to-measure tailor CYC. If you have a sewing machine and some basic skills, we urge you to join the movement. CYC provides the template for anyone who can commit to making 300 masks in 10 days or less. While they have enough volunteers for now, those interested can still sign up to be part of their waiting list or database for future needs.
For more inspiration to get you through this circuit breaker, check out the rest of our blog here.