Project Open Doors

Project Open Doors is a collaborative effort by Singaporean civil society groups to raise public awareness on the extended isolation and mental distress faced by migrant workers due to movement restrictions.

Why Open Doors?

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Welcome In My Backyard (WIMBY)

Our migrant brothers have been placed under tight movement restrictions since the rapid spread of Covid-19 within the migrant worker community in April this year. Prolonged confinement adds to migrant workers’ anxieties over job security, income loss, and lack of information in a language they understand, all of which have escalated due to the pandemic. These issues have negatively affected migrant workers’ mental health.

Welcome In My Backyard (WIMBY) aims to normalize relations between migrant workers and Singaporeans because we believe that migrant workers are equally deserving of respect, kindness and empathy. We understand that movement restrictions are necessary to reduce community transmission, and acknowledge the difficulties of crafting a safe re-opening strategy. But long after we celebrated the end of Circuit Breaker restrictions and began our transition to a new normal, we think it is not right that many migrant workers, including those who are not infected and who live in dormitories with low cases of Covid-19, remain indoors.

 

Join us in supporting efforts to ease movement restrictions for our male migrant workers.

MaidforMore (MfM)

For many migrant domestic workers (MDWs), working in Singapore requires them to live with their employers. This effectively isolates them from other members of the MDW community – a key source of support, especially those working in Singapore for the first time. 

 

During the circuit breaker, the Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics (HOME) reported a spike in distress calls resulting from MDWs’ increased proximity with their employers.  During this period, pre-existing issues of inadequate rest, access to privacy and communications, overwork, and denial of days out were exacerbated. Following the lifting of circuit breaker measures, MDWs were advised to seek the consent of their employers to leave the home, and to do so on weekdays. Although a mandatory weekly day off for MDWs was legislated in 2011, studies have shown that many MDWs still do not get a weekly day off, much less a full day out. Unfortunately, because current regulations meant to protect MDWs lack adequate enforcement and few are legally-binding, many remain vulnerable to exploitation. 

 

It is within this context of highly unequal power relations between employers and MDWs that MaidforMore (MfM) advocates for greater wellbeing of our MDWs. Join us in our journey to create new social norms, and the just and dignified living environment our MDWs deserve.

Migrant Worker Solidarity Series (MWSS)

MWSS is a collaboration between the Singapore Climate Rally (SGCR) and (CRL) Response Team.

Prior to COVID-19, many migrant workers depended on Singapore’s parks, nature reserves, gardens, and open fields as spaces to socialize and relax after a long week of work.

 

COVID-19 and the resultant restrictions in movement have made access to these spaces difficult for the majority of male migrant workers and migrant domestic workers. As Singapore continues to ease COVID-related restrictions, migrant workers, still unable to freely go outside, find themselves battling worsening mental health, escalating stress, and prolonged uncertainty as months go by. Even as many return to work, these restricted freedoms remain detrimental to their work-life balance, and their access to fair and decent working conditions.

 

MWSS believes in a healthier, more equitable Singapore. We work from the position that today’s environmental problems are also deeply interconnected with social inequality, especially toward systemically marginalised communities, including our migrant workers.

 

Join us in supporting efforts toward the relaxation of movement restrictions for our migrant workers.

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© Open Doors 2020