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Building on our series of reports on unmet social needs in Singapore, the Lien Centre, in conjunction with the School of Social Sciences, is pleased to launch the next publication in our Social Insight Research Series, "Vital Yet Vulnerable: Mental and emotional health of South Asian migrant workers in Singapore".

Assistant Professor of Sociology, Nicholas Harrigan, and SMU alumni, Koh Chiu Yee, have co-authored a study based on a survey of over 600 South Asian migrant workers in Singapore.

The study finds that problems with housing, agent fee debt, and threats of repatriation are causing significant distress to South Asian migrant workers in Singapore, particularly those with salary and injury claims registered with the Ministry of Manpower (MOM). 

Please join us for the launch of this publication. The event will include a short presentation of the report’s findings and recommendations, and then a panel discussion with speakers from Transient Workers Count Too (TWC2) and Humanitarian Organization for Migration Economics (HOME), as well as Silver Ribbon Singapore.

Nicholas Harrigan

Dr. Nicholas M. HARRIGAN is Assistant Professor of Sociology at the School of Social Sciences at Singapore Management University. This is his seventh year at SMU and in Singapore. Before coming to SMU, he was a postdoctoral research officer in Sociology at Nuffield College at the University of Oxford, and completed a PhD in Politics at the Australian National University. He has a Bachelor of Economics (majoring in Political Economy and Economic History) and a Bachelor of Science (majoring in Pharmacology).

Koh Chiu Yee

Ms Koh Chiu Yee graduated with a Bachelor of Social Science at Singapore Management University in 2015. She was a member of the School of Social Science’s Dean’s List, and an active member of the SMU community, serving as the past Financial Secretary of the Social Science Student Society. She has recently completed a six-month internship at the International Organization for Migration (IOM) Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific in Bangkok, Thailand. 

Debbie Fordyce

Member of the Executive Committee: Debbie FORDYCE, a long-term resident of Singapore and a life-long advocate for the underprivileged, was helping Vietnamese boat refugees confined in camps in Sembawang in the 1980s. Now she devotes almost all her time to TWC2, leading the Cuff Road Food Programme. Her volunteer work with the meal project has her talking to workers to record their stories, and keeping records of the types of cases and the individual participants, information that supports research and reveals gaps in the system of recruitment and employment. Many of these men, in spite of their desperate situation, have become good friends ready to share their lives and dreams. 

Jolovan Wham

Jolovan Wham is a social worker and Executive Director of Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics, a NGO concerned about the rights and welfare of migrant workers in Singapore.  Jolovan is a founding member of HOME and has helped to spearhead and develop the organisation's current programmes and activities.  HOME runs shelters, help lines, legal aid programmes, and conducts research, skills training and capacity building workshops.  HOME's advocacy has contributed to amendments to Singapore's migrant worker policies and laws, such as the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act, a legislated weekly day off for migrant domestic workers and the enactment of Singapore's Prevention of Human Trafficking Act.

Porsche Poh

Ms. Porsche Poh is the Executive Director of the Silver Ribbon (Singapore). She is also the Regional Vice President (Asia Pacific) of the World Federation for Mental Health, the Facilitator for the Communities of Practice (CoP) (Mental Health), and a member of the Singapore Schizophrenia Network. Under Porsche’s leadership, the Silver Ribbon team works closely with the policymakers, grassroots leaders & government agencies and set up three centres to assist individuals and families whose lives are affected by mental illness. She has also published a book entitled ‘Mental Health Revolution-Making Things Happen,’ which details the mental health evolvement and transformation in Singapore, and launched it at the World Mental Health Congress in Cape Town in 2011.


The Lien Centre for Social Innovation's mission is to catalyse innovative responses to social needs through applied research and capacity building in collaboration with the public, private and social sectors.


Please click on the RSVP link to register by 2 November 2015. 

Wednesday 4 November 2015

The programme is as follows:

10:00-10:30am: Registration

10:30-11:00am: Welcome & Presentation of findings by SMU Assistant Professor of Sociology, Nicholas Harrigan

11:00-12:00 noon: Panel discussion

12:00-12:30pm: Open discussion and Q&A

12:30-1:30pm: Lunch

University Lounge, Level 6,
SMU Administration Building,
81 Victoria Street
Singapore 188065

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