It took a national crisis for many Singaporeans to wake up and smell the rot. The number of COVID-19 cases in the nation has skyrocketed, with a bulk of those confirmed are attributed to the migrant workers who have helped build the nation.
The extremely rapid spread of COVID-19 amongst the migrant worker community left many aghast and understand how and why? The answer surfaced and it was all too clear: the appalling living conditions and lack of aid afforded to these workers amidst this extremely trying time. This is not an isolated incident, but it spelt a larger, more pressing problem that Singapore has faced overall when it comes to the treatment of the migrant worker population, and how we’ve tried to shelve it for far too long.
A bright side to all of this is that attention brings about change and the organisations that are fighting to implement them. Fundraisers are being initiated, alongside donation channels that can benefit migrant workers in ways that make a whole lot of difference — providing them with proper tools such as hand sanitisers, donating funds for medical care, or even just money for proper, nutritious meals.
Awareness is the first step, and action the second. If you have the privilege and the means to lend a hand, then here are some ways you can help migrant workers in Singapore.
TWC2, which stands for “Transient Workers Count Too”, is a non-profit organisation that advocates for fair treatment for migrant workers. Its mission statement is one we believe deserves to be restated over and over again: “all labour is dignified and should be treated with respect and consideration. Ethnicity, colour, gender, language, religion or class are irrelevant – no worker should be subjected to inhumane or degrading treatment.”
With a focus on social work, advocacy for migrant worker rights and direct services such as food and aid provided to both employed and unemployed individuals, TWC2 has a donation platform that is ever more useful during this time of need. Donations can be made via Giving.sg, with tiers ranging from one-time donations of S$10-S$250, to monthly donations at a sum of your choice.
The newly-established COVID-19 Migrant Support Coalition (CMSC) is a collective group helmed by Citizen Adventures, Itsrainingraincoats, Migrant x Me and Singapore Migrant Friends. These units are banding together to provide immediate relief to migrant workers affected by the circuit breaker measures via the following channels: food and basic necessities, meaningful occupation to promote health and wellbeing, as well as consolidating resources for an online support hub. Aside from donating to help meet their S$100,000 goal, the CMSC also has an immediate helpline for migrant workers who need it here.
Utopia SG is a platform started by local influencer, Preetipls, with the aim of responding to the rising issues faced by migrant workers during COVID-19. With the initial goal for raising S$100,000, which the platform met in about 24 hours, Utopia SG remains as a platform to spotlight the stories of those left in the margins and to bring to light the aid that they require. Donations are still being accepted via the link below.
Set up as a venture between the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) and the Singapore National Employers’ Federation (SNEF), the Migrant Workers Centre is a non-government organisation that aims to further the betterment of migrant workers and the care they receive. Its services range from food aid to free legal clinics, and now, as a measure for COVID-19 response, the platform is dedicated to providing immediate relief to migrant workers, which ranges from giving them defences such as masks and hand sanitisers to food and financial aid when for those displaced from jobs.
HOME, an acronym for Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics, is offering help to migrant workers across the island who have been displaced or are suffering from ill-treatment, indignity and abuse. That aside, it is also an advocacy platform currently accepting donations to provide medical relief for migrant workers that need it. For the period where Singapore is afflicted with COVID-19, HOME is funnelling donations to create self-care packs, afford doctor’s check-ups, and other essential services to migrant workers in need.