Ronin Institute for Independent Scholarship (United States)


As well as the health battle, the social impact of the Covid-19 pandemic is significant. Across Asia, it is women who are being disproportionately affected. One group who is particularly vulnerable to its effects are migrant domestic workers. Compared with other international migrants, foreign migrant workers, particularly migrant domestic workers, encounter more barriers in accessing health services in host countries (Hargreaves et al. 2019). This study is crucial to understand the effects that are produced by the several policies that are being implemented to deal with the pandemic, such as social distancing and lockdown. Most importantly this study attempts to understand how Indonesian domestic workers living in Singapore and Hong Kong find their ways of coping and maintaining their well-being.

Principal Investigators

Dyah Pitaloka

Research Scholar, Ronin Institute for Independent Scholarship

Pitaloka was a Fulbright Fellow and completed her PhD from the University of Oklahoma in 2014 with specialization in health communication. As an experienced scholar and researcher of more than ten years, Pitaloka's research focuses on sociocultural issues in health contexts with an emphasis on gender, health inequalities, and marginalization in contemporary healthcare. The community-grounded projects that she conducted are looking at how cultural meanings are negotiated and coconstructed by community members in their interactions with various social, structural, educational, economic, religious, and policy contexts that surround their lives. For the past six years, Pitaloka had worked closely with various community members such Singaporean transgender sex workers, Indonesian domestic workers in Singapore, culturally and linguistically diverse groups living with diabetes in Western Sydney, and the survivors of Indonesia’s communist purge. The goals of this program of research are to generate policies and culture-specific interventions that are sensitive to social and cultural dimensions of care, and to understand the interactions of human agency and communicative processes in bringing about social change and structural transformation. Pitaloka was a lecturer in Indonesian studies at the University of Sydney and currently is a research scholar at Ronin Institute.

Frenia Nababan

Lecturer, Universitas Multimedia Nusantara

Graduated with master’s in communication from the University of Indonesia, Jakarta in 2012, Nababan has more than 15 years of experience in the area of social change in Indonesia. Starting as a volunteer, Nababan established a strong credibility as an expert in strategic communication and public service. She is involved in various partnerships and works together with experts on issues related to disability, children's rights, women's rights, sexual and reproductive health, human rights, and social justice through national and global networks. Her attention in these particular areas continues through her involvement as a trainer and a facilitator in workshops on advocacy, campaigns, public communication, and social movements. Before resigning and deciding to focus on teaching and research, she held a position as advocacy and program director at one of the NGOs in Indonesia. Nababan is also a founder of “Dialoka,” a community group that focuses on empowering communities and encouraging public active participation in social change.