After interviewing Naim, a foreign worker from Bangladesh, our team has written his story for you.
This is his story.
Naim is from Bangladesh and he came to Singapore to work in order to support his family. Back home, he has 3 sisters, a retired father, his mother and his younger brother who are depending on him for a steady income. He came to work in a construction company in Singapore with zero prior experience and hence faced a lot of difficulties settling in. He also faced racism from his Chinese employers, supervisors and even co-workers in the form of verbal abuse.
The company did not pay his monthly salary regularly, sometimes up to two months, and it did not provide the workers with any form of income. Like numerous other workers, Naim came to Singapore with the aid of a bank loan to pay his agent. Thus, he is required to pay an interest sum every month. Due to irregular monthly salaries, he could not pay these interests on time and hence incurred numerous fines from the bank, worsening his financial situation.
In addition, when he needed medical care, the company hardly compensated for his medical fees. This resulted in him ignoring medical needs, in fear of unaffordable fees that he would have to pay from his own pocket.
He suffered a serious injury that requires a surgery that cost $20K, a sum he claimed he could never pay even if he works and saves money all his life. He was working on top of a ladder in a construction site when it had started raining. When he asked his employer if he could wait out the rain, the employer threatened to cut 3 days’ worth of pay. He even refused to assign another co-worker to physically support and secure the ladder while he worked. With no options left, he continued working in the rain for a couple of hours when he slipped and fell off the ladder. He landed in between a couple of water pipes, twisting his knee and rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in the process. He woke up 12 hours later at a private hospital bed. His employer discharged him and sent him back to his dormitory right after he regained consciousness to avoid paying more hospitalisation fees.
He suffered in pain for the next few days as there were no facilities for the handicapped in his dormitory. He heard of Healthserve organisation from a couple of his friends and sought the organisation’s help thereafter. Healthserve provided him with a permanent place to live in as well as regular meals. It also served as a hub for him to meet other workers and volunteers and make new friends while he awaits his compensation money claim to be approved.
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