Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Media-BPO/Call Centers: Issues and Challenges - Signis India Statement

Signis-India Statement

At the conclusion of the Seminar on

‘Media-BPO/Call Centers: Issues and Challenges’

Bangalore, 16-18 March 2007

Concerned with the growing number of BPO/Call Centers in major metros around the country, employing more than twelve lakhs young people and the changes being brought about in their economic, social, cultural and ethical lives, Signis-India, in collaboration with Signis-Karnataka organized a three day seminar on, ‘Media-BPO/Call Centers: Issues and Challenges’ from 16-18 March 2007 at NBCLC, Bangalore in which 80 persons participated.

The resource persons hailing from the BPO/Call center industries and health sector, while highlighting the tremendous economic potential such centers bring with them for the country, also hastened to caution about some of the negative side-effects these have on the youth, families and on the society as a whole.

The youth invited from the BPOs shared how they developed their self-confidence and leadership qualities, team work and a degree of independence. They also expressed how long working hours and ‘graveyard shifts’, when night becomes day and vice-versa, and having to act as Americans or Britons, alters their personalities. This affects their mental, physical and spiritual health impacting their value systems and their family relationships drastically.

The participants grappled with issues, opportunities, challenges that globalization has brought about in the working conditions of the youth, their culture and life style and committed themselves to journey together with and reach out to the affected youth. After much deliberation the members made the following key suggestions:
  • Develop support groups in parishes and institutions with the basic attitude of being non-judgmental but accepting and caring.

  • Create critical awareness programmes for youth, parents, educators, media personnel, priests and religious on BPO related problems.

  • Conduct surveys in parishes to identify the affected.

  • Network through SMS, emails, Blogs, websites, podcasting and other technologies.

  • Approach BPO employees’ parents, relatives and friends to reach out to them.

  • Engage in advocacy at various levels, together with like-minded groups, to bring about policy changes on the issues, such as labour laws, to promote more conducive working conditions.

  • Collaborate with other professionals (psychiatrists, social workers, doctors, media people, BPO/CC managers, role-model youth) and organizations such as rehabilitation centres, schools, colleges and NGOs.

  • Devise appropriate strategies at the parish level, including special timings in parish schedules for their spiritual needs.

  • Organize events such as workshops, entertainment programmes to sustain their personal, social and spiritual development.

  • Assist migrant workers in finding places to stay and other support systems.
    Create help-lines in parishes, companies and institutions.

  • Use media education to awaken the youth about the sweeping wave of consumerist culture.
Signis-India members committed themselves to assist the youth, Church hierarchy and the related CBCI-CCBI Commissions in collaboration with ICYM, Jesus Youth, CBCI Youth Commission for further action and implementation.

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