“The problems that the migrant laborers are facing since the pandemic outbreak is beyond what words can fathom. While those in India are struggling to get back home, the laborers here in Singapore are gripped with the fear of getting infected since there has been a rise in the number of cases.
With most of them staying in dormitories and confused with the new changes, they needed a communication platform in simple Bengali which could uplift their mental health with a sense of solidarity. As a social scientist specialized in Health Communications and someone with working experience as a publishing expert in Thomson Reuters, I knew I could leverage upon the strength of digital platforms.
While YouTube seemed like the perfect go-to platform, based on their feedback, I soon realized that Facebook would work best. I started conducting Live discussions with the laborers on their problems, the government’s new announcements, etc. The free internet access is given to workers staying in the dormitories, and my stronghold on the language Bengali became the biggest strength in driving this mission.
Driving participatory communication is essential at a time like now. The bottom-up initiative that brings forth their narratives with an aim to provide them with mental support as well as show solidarity. Irrespective of the class divide, people engage better with images and videos over text. So, with my live discussions, I also attempt to bolster the communication that is already available from the government and newspapers.
There are many helping hands in Singapore for the migrant workers, and in light of COVID-19, there has been a phenomenal increase. With the help of my platform I attempt to communicate about them too. Some I came to know on my own, some through workers, and some through those who contacted me. So, I project about these initiatives that have been rolled out to help the migrant workers.
Currently, I am doing five to ten-minute videos in Bengali. The number of viewers for my Live streams, as well as their comments, are increasing day by day. For example, my last video gained more than 1k viewers in less than 6 hours. This gives me hope and motivation. I hope to be of help to more workers in Singapore by using my years of research with marginalized communities during my Ph.D. studies and linguistic skills.”
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