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Call Home is all about connectivity — for good!
Support their Christmas campaign 2020 so migrant workers can call their loved ones back home during this holiday season.
COVID-19 has adverse impacts on everyone, but it is important to note that some vulnerable groups are affected more than the others. As Mohan Dutta, the professor of Communication at Massey University told BBC, “COVID-19, much like any other pandemic, is a pandemic of inequality.”
Heightened Concerns Over The Mental Health of Migrant Workers in Singapore
Singapore has recorded over 53,000 covid-19 cases, mainly from dormitories in which around 300,000 workers from Bangladesh, India, and China are housed. Migrant workers in dormitories remained in quarantine for months after the Circuit Breaker was lifted in June. Even today, migrant workers who have been declared virus-free continue to have their movements restricted on their rest days and still spend non-working hours confined to their rooms with little to occupy themselves.
The prolonged confinement, salary cut, inability to provide for families, as well as inability to service debts to money lenders and banks have also taken a heavy toll on the mental health of migrant workers as there were several reports for suicide attempts, deaths, and self-harm.
Stay Connected with Loved Ones is Expensive
Amidst these extremely challenging times, one of migrant workers’ only sources of comfort is connecting to their families back homes. But even that comes with challenges and can be an expensive ordeal. Since their families at home often don’t have smartphones or adequate internet connectivity, they must buy international calling cards to call their loved ones. With reduced salaries during the lockdown period as well as movement restrictions, workers have struggled to afford to buy these cards, which can sometimes cost up to $50/month for the minutes they need.
Prior to Covid-19 pandemic, migrant workers would cautiously conserve the minutes they used. Some workers Call Home spoke to said they spend an hour on the phone speaking to friends on internet calls, but only 5-10 minutes speaking with family members on IDD calls, because of the high cost of those calls. With the ongoing movement restrictions and reduced salaries described above, make it even more difficult for migrant workers to stay connected with loved one.
CallHome.SG : bridging the connectivity gap between migrant workers and their loved ones
Started by 4 strangers who met through better.sg, a local organization that helps volunteer groups like ourselves to build tech products for social good, Call Home is on mission to improve connectivity for the migrant workers population in Singapore.
In the last six months Call Home teams have been developing and building the app to bridge and facilitate connectivity between migrant workers and their loved ones. In their pilot funded by Majurity Trust SG Strong Fund in July, they added 60 users to ask questions and give immediate feedback about how this app would be best utilized. This group finally developed into a self-help community as more and more people are added to the app.
Call Home hopes that they can deter the anxiety and distress among migrant workers in Singapore by facilitating an easier access to connect with their loved ones back home. In the long term, they wished to improve mental health amongst workers and help reshaping how they communicate with their families back home without having to worry about the costly duration of communication.
Call Home is supported by Twilio which allows 3G to landline calls. As a result, migrant workers can use wifi or cellular data to call their family without having to worry whether their family have internet connection back home. Migrant workers can simply
- go to callhome.sg,
- Sign up/log into their Facebook page
- verify their phone number with one-time password.
Once they have done so, they can start calling their families in Bangladesh.
The cost of the calls is funded by donors, so all calls for workers are free. Every S$8 donated can result in 200 minutes of free talk time a month for each worker. This means that workers will no longer have to buy their own IDD cards, and this also reduces the logistical burden of NGOs buying and distributing individual top-up cards for workers. By using Call Home app, migrant workers can spend 75 to 100 minutes per week to call their family with reliable call quality compared to IDD cards, where they can only make 1 – 2 calls every week beforehand.
There are 300,000 workers in Singapore and eventually, Call Home hopes to reach all of them. However, for now, their goal is to onboard 1000 workers onto the app by the end of 2020.
CallHome.SG Christmas Campaign – Give The Gift Of Connection This Holiday Season
This year’s Christmas celebration will be like nothing we’ve experienced before. It has been a challenging year for all of us, but let’s not forget those that are highly impacted and in less favourable condition. Migrant workers in Singapore are still facing strict restrictions, wage cuts and anxiety over their health and livelihoods. Because their families often lack internet connections, workers must buy IDD cards to speak with them. Today, workers struggle to afford these cards and must cautiously conserve their talk time minutes.
We believe that everybody should be able to speak to the people they love – especially during the holidays. So, why not donate on their behalf to a cause they care about? Give the gift of connectivity to migrant workers this holiday season, while also giving a friend a gift they’ll care about.
With a $25 donation, you can gift a migrant worker the comfort of hearing a loved one’s voice for 3 whole months or
All you need to do is these 3 easy steps :
Step 1 : decide how many months of calls you would like to sponsor on your friend’s behalf and Donate to Call Home in your name/friend’s honour
Step 2 : Fill out this quick google form
Step 3 : Call Home will send you a personalised e-card that you can share with your friend
As migrant workers have contributed and strived to make Singapore a better place, facilitating and helping migrant workers to have adequate communication with their families back home is the least we can do to appreciate them.
Help them make Singapore feels like home as they do to ours.
ABOUT CALL HOME :
Call Home is ground-up group that aims to bridge the connectivity gap between migrant workers in Singapore and their families in Bangladesh. COVID-19 has left migrant workers anxious, lonely, and facing an uncertain future. With their lives and livelihoods endangered like never before, speaking to family can make a huge difference to their morale and mental health.
They built Call Home, an app that allows workers to make calls to landline numbers using their own data or wifi connections. The calls are funded by donors, and are free for workers. To learn more, check out give.asia/call-home-sg.
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