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.
Philanthropy has always been at the core of V&VPR — this has underscored the way we approach our business, from a robust client portfolio of brands that advocate for responsible travel and sustainability, to putting aside hours to volunteer as a team for charitable organisations and non-profits. This year, we are taking this mission one step further, and we are delighted to have partnered on a pro-bono basis with Limitless.
Limitless is a non-profit organization that was founded to help youths in Singapore build hope, find worth, and live destiny-driven lives. Founded by Asher Low in 2016, Limitless strives to offer support to young people who may feel powerless as a result of any number of psychological and societal factors, including poverty, mental illness and social inequality.
According to international statistics, depression is an epidemic, with teenagers and youths in their early twenties being especially vulnerable. Almost 8% of teenagers are affected by depression, with suicide being the second leading cause of death among adolescents worldwide. Extensive research has also pointed to the fact that a third of young people struggling with depression do not seek help. Left untreated, depression can lead to other issues, including eating disorders, substance abuse, self-harm and suicide.
Through a series of outreach programmes, education, social work, counselling, and mentorship, the Limitless team are aiming to reach youths from all walks of life to inspire, empower and equip them to live purposeful, fulfilled, and happy lives.
The V&VPR team are looking forward to supporting the team at Limitless with their media and communications strategy. If you would like to find out more about their cause and how you can help, please visit https://www.limitless.sg
Record-breaking temperatures, combined with severe drought, have fueled bushfires across Australia, which have been blazing since September.
Over the past two weeks, the fires have further intensified; so far, at least 24 people (including 3 volunteer firefighters) and an estimated half a billion animals have been killed, and over 63,000 sq km of land has been destroyed.
Here are some ways you can help:
Direct donations to charities and organisations who are responding to the crisis:
- Australian Red Cross Disaster Recovery and Relief – the Australian Red Cross are supporting thousands of people and offering emergency assistance in evacuation centres and recovery hubs across Australia. The Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery also offer psychological first aid to reduce trauma, and emergency assistance such as cash grants for those who have lost their homes
- Salvation Army – Salvation Army teams are providing meals to evacuees and frontline responders in various locations across Australia, with additional teams on standby
- NSW Rural Fire Service – New South Wales is the worth-hit state, with over 1,300 houses having been destroyed to date. Donations made to NSW RFS or other local Rural Fire Brigades directly benefit volunteer firefighters, who are playing an integral role in combatting bushfires
- NSW Wildlife Information, Rescue and Education Service (WIRES) – WIRES have been rescuing and caring for native animals for over 30 years. Thousands of volunteers are dedicated to rescuing and caring for sick, injured and orphaned animals –in December 2019, they attended over 3,300 rescues
- Port Macquarie Koala Hospital – the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital have been working alongside National Park teams to rescue koalas from fire grounds. Once admitted, the koalas are rehydrated and treated for burns. Some of the funds raised will also be used to create a ‘Koala Ark’ to rehabilitate surviving koalas
- Adelaide & Hills Koala Rescue – Adelaide and Hills Koala Rescue are the largest group of experienced & dedicated Volunteer Koala Carers and Rescuers in South Australia
Shop sensibly through fashion brands who have pledged to donate a portion of sales to help the charities and organisations who are on the frontline:
- Frank Body – for the entire month of January, skincare brand Frank Body will donate 100% of all sales of their A-Beauty scrub to Wires, the Country Fire Authority and the NSW Rural Fire Service
- Lee Matthews – Australian fashion brand, Lee Matthews, will be donating 50% of all sales online and in-store to a different charity every day this week (ends 12th January)
- Barrineau – until 12th January, all sales made by US-based hangbag company, Barrineau, will be donated to WIRES Wildlife Rescue
- MLM Label – 30% of all online sales made before 12th January will be donated to Red Cross Australia and WIRES Wildlife Rescue
Buy from the Bush – new social initiative, Buy from the Bush was created in October to showcase small businesses based in drought-affected areas, which have been impacted by the fires. Buy from the Bush shines a spotlight on these businesses in order to help stabilise the economy and invest in the future of these communities.
Dine to donate – several Australia-based restaurants and chefs are planning special dining events and menus, the profits of which will be donated to help the relief efforts:
- Cook for the Bush – Nomad (Sunday 12th January) – beginning at 10am, Cook for the Bush will see some of Sydney’s top chefs collaborate on a custom à la carte brunch menu that’s available until 3pm, as well as a range of takeaway baked goods.
- Icebergs Sundays Icebergs Dining Room and Bar (12th January) – this iconic, Insta-famous hangout is hosting another of its popular Icebergs Sundays shindigs, with all bar proceeds being donated to Rural Aid Australia
- Isabel Bondi – Isabel Bondi will donate all profits and tips made until 19th January to WIRES Wildlife Rescue
Our thoughts are with Australia and all those who have suffered. We believe that every little helps, and urge you to take action today.