Vital Yet Vulnerable: Mental and emotional health of South Asian migrant workers in Singapore

Numbering nearly one million persons, low-waged, low-skilled migrant workers are a vital yet vulnerable part of Singapore's economy and society. This study, undertaken several months before the Little India riots of December 2013, measures the psychological distress or 261 South Asian Work Permit holders, and 344 South Asian injury and salary claim workers. While most regular Work Permit holders are relatively happy and healthy, our study finds that 62 percent or injury and salary claim workers meet the screening conditions for a Serious Mental Illness.

We find that the three main drivers at psychological distress are (1) the housing problems of injury and salary claim workers, (2) threats or repatriation against both injured and regular workers, and (3) agent fee debt, We recommend a range of policy options to address these problems, including alternative housing for injury and salary claim workers, delinking Work Permit holders' visas and employment contracts; and regulation of offshore migration agents. It was launched on 4 Nov 2015 See the press release here. You can hear more about the author. Assistant Professor Nicholas Harrigan, with this podcast.

Elderly Population in Singapore: Understanding social, physical and financial needs

Who are Singapore's low-income elderly? What makes some resilient in the face of multiple challenges? What are their social needs that might be filled by additional interventions via civil society or government programmes? These are some of the questions this publication tries to understand.

It does so not by surveying the elderly, but via intensive interviews with 100 residents of one low-income neighborhood in Singapore. Whereas surveys can help gather generalisable data, interviews can help us see the ‘story behind the story,’ illuminating potential causal connections and providing hints regarding possible effective ways to intercede. We followed this up with a series of small-group conversations with our participants, as well as ‘social conversations' with representatives of Singapore's leading civil society organizations.

From this we discovered important insights about social isolation, financial deprivation and physical challenges amongst participating elderly. We have already started to apply these tentative conclusions to work into our VMO partner and other engaged parties This puts ‘action' into our research - the proactive use of research results to make a change and co-create tangible improvements.

People with Physical Disabilities in Singapore: Understanding disabling factors in caregiving, education, employment and finances

The publication concerns the unmet social needs or people with disabilities in Singapore. Researchers from the Lien Centre for Social Innovation, along with students from Singapore Management University, interviewed 100 people with disabilities over a period or several months. These in-depth interviews were designed to elicit detailed stories from the participants, which would inform our understanding of their needs and how services might be improved to better meet those needs.

The rich data collected from these interviews paints a picture or a community which has faced barriers in many spheres and stages of life. From major life issues like education and employment, to everyday concerns like transportation and negotiating crowds, the decisions of our interview participants are heavily circumscribed by their disabilities. This publication explores Singapore‘s commitment to becoming a more inclusive society, and offers in response the stories and suggestions from people with disabilities that might help to point the way towards this goal.

Single-Parent Families in Singapore: Understanding the challenges of finances, housing and time poverty

This publication documents the unmet social needs of single-parent families in Singapore, it specifically focuses on four key areas, employment and finance, housing, social networks and time poverty in-depth, qualitative interviews were completed with so low-income single parents across Singapore. These interviews provided the opportunity to truly explore the stories or these single-parent families, displaying the complexity and interplay of the issues they faced.

Our findings display the huge responsibility that single parents carry as they balance the caregiving and financial needs or their family, alongside negotiating policies that are largely suggested to support the “traditional" family structure. While respecting that dignity and pride prevents many individuals approaching family, friends or support services for assistance, this publication offers some suggestions as to how to improve support systems to offer long-term solutions, rather than short term fixes, to the issues laced by single-parent families.


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