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New app to overcome language barrier between seniors and Indonesian migrant caregivers

  • 12 February, 2024
  • Ching-en Chiou
New app to overcome language barrier between seniors and Indonesian migrant caregivers
NCKU’s new Kasih app bridges language gaps between #Taiwanese elders and #Indonesian caregivers with real-time translation and vital resources. (Photo: Kasih APP Facebook page)

National Cheng Kung University (NCKU) has unveiled the groundbreaking app Kasih, designed to bridge linguistic barriers in caregiving settings. The app was developed through a research project funded by the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) and spearheaded by NCKU Gerontology professor Chiu Ching-Ju (邱靜如).

Chiu emphasized that many care recipients in Taiwan primarily speak Taiwanese, while their migrant caregivers predominantly speak Indonesian. This language gap often leads to misunderstandings and conflicts, ultimately leading to the reduction of care quality. She said her team has collaborated with scholars from different fields and the Global Workers' Organization (Gwo Taiwan) to develop Kasih.

The app integrates an array of features and resources, from caregiving tips, health insights, legal guidance, and a repository of a hundred bilingual phrases commonly used in caregiving contexts. Additionally, it provides real-time translation services to navigate communication between Taiwanese seniors and their Indonesian caregivers.

Labor Ministry statistics reveal that over 230,000 migrant workers are employed in social welfare roles in Taiwan, with Indonesian citizens comprising 76% of this demographic. Moreover, data from the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting, and Statistics indicates that, as of 2020, approximately 75% of Taiwanese citizens aged over 65 primarily speak Taiwanese.

The name Kasih, spelled K-A-S-I-H, holds significance as it translates to "love" and serves as an acronym for "friends," "care," "elders," and "handphone" in Indonesian. Chiu underscored the aspiration for Indonesian migrant caregivers to be regarded as friends and valued partners in caring for Taiwan's senior citizens.

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