How You Can Help Migrant Workers In Singapore During The Covid-19 Crisis
Donate money, items, or even your time.
The plight of foreign workers living in dormitories has been in the spotlight recently, with the staggering number of Covid-19 cases linked to dormitories in Singapore. At press time, over 8,000 migrant workers living in dorms have tested positive for the coronavirus, making up the majority of the cases in Singapore. As of Apr 23, there are 21 dormitories declared as isolation areas, which means workers living there have to be quarantined in their rooms for 14 days.
Alarming headline numbers aside, the Covid-19 outbreak in dorms has brought to light the less-than-ideal living conditions of some of these lodgings (one room can house up to 12 to 20 people), and the financial uncertainty that looms for these workers.
It’s all rather grim, but charity organisations and individuals have stepped up to help foreign workers and to raise funds for their basic necessities, meals and even programmes to aid their mental well-being.
Want to lend a helping hand? Here are a few ways to do it.
CMSC is a collab among several community organisations — ItsRainingRaincoats, Migrant x Me, Citizen Adventures and Singapore Migrant Friends — that aims to raise $1mil. The funds will go towards meals and daily essentials, as well as occupational engagement and learning programmes to help migrant workers spend time meaningfully in quarantine.
More info at https://rayofhope.sg/campaign/covid-19-migrant-support-coalition
This project helps to match donations from the public to dorm operators’ wishlist items for workers living in their quarters. Organised by the CMSC, Majulah Belanja wants to boost the morale of the migrant workers. Donations can come in any form — your time, cash or items. While you can donate necessities and supplies, in-kind donations that could perk up someone’s day, such as snacks or entertainment to help them pass the time in dorms, are welcome too. Among the matched offers so far: a carom board. Clothing is not accepted for hygiene reasons.
More info at https://sheet2site.com/s/majulahbelanja/.
A collaborative campaign by the Collective of Migrant Efforts (COME) — a partnership involving NGOs, government agencies and citizens — aims to raise $800,000. This is to provide 20,000 migrant workers with rations over 10 days, focusing on food, hygiene and internet connectivity for workers living in dorms. Here’s how it all adds up: $40 provides one person with two meals a day for 10 days. Each factory-converted dormitory houses 50 to 1,000 workers, and averages about 200 workers, which means it’ll take about $8,000 to provide meals for an average FCD dorm.
Donate at https://www.giving.sg/campaigns/homeforall-migrants.
Non-profit organisation Transient Workers Count Too (TWC2) is raising funds to help foreign workers living in dorms and who’ve been diagnosed with Covid-19, to ensure that they have enough funds in their prepaid SIM cards during this time. Because it’s never been more critical to be able to communicate with family back home or to call for help. Funds also go towards newly-warded workers to help facilitate contact tracing, as well as chargers for patients warded with no belongings. At press time, $118,000 has been spent on top-ups and the distribution of physical SIM cards.
Donate at https://www.giving.sg/twc2/topup. More info at https://www.facebook.com/pg/twc2sg.
Looking for other ways to help? If you can sew 300 masks in 10 days, sign up to join CYC's mask challenge. The homegrown tailoring company is targeting to donate 300,000 masks to migrant workers. Volunteers will be given necessary materials, except for thread, and are encouraged to use a sewing machine instead of hand-sewing. There’s even a handy video tutorial on the website so masks made are standardised. The #CYC300kMaskChallenge is also part of a community-led initiative, MaskForce, which has donated 1.3mil reusable masks to 400,000 migrant workers and 250,000 domestic helpers in Singapore. As of Apr 14, it’s required by law in Singapore for anyone who leaves their home to wear a mask.
More info at https://www.cyctailor.com/300kmasks.
Photos: Covid-19 Migrant Support Coalition Facebook, Majulah Belanja, Collective of Migrant Efforts, TWC2 Facebook, CYC