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Digital workers are transforming their lives in countries of the Global South

Santiago Coates & Oskarina Fuentes

April, 09, 2024

4 min reading

In the fabric of the global digital economy, there are stories that resonate with a spirit of resilience and adaptation. One such story is that of Oskarina, a Venezuelan who, facing challenging macroeconomic conditions in her native country, found refuge and opportunities in the digital world and economy.

Now living in Medellín, Colombia, Oskarina represents a growing community of workers from the Global South who have embraced the digital economy not just as a means of survival, but as a path to greater autonomy and personal fulfillment. Her journey is not just a testament to adaptability, but also a clear example of how talent and determination can transcend geographical and economic boundaries.

This article explores the impact of financial innovation in overcoming economic barriers, offering a glimpse into how digital platforms are empowering remote workers around the world.

Oskarina's Journey: Facing Challenges and Finding Opportunities

For over nine years, Oskarina has been immersed in the world of Data Labeling for artificial intelligence, working with platforms like Appen.

Appen is an artificial intelligence-driven platform designed to assist businesses in sectors such as information technology, automotive, retail, and healthcare, providing access to essential training data for application development. This tool facilitates the optimization of processes such as natural language processing, voice analysis, and data extraction, all from a single integrated portal.

These tasks, although they may seem simple, are fundamental for the development of artificial intelligence.

The path has not been easy. The logistics of receiving payments and managing funds in countries with restrictive or unstable financial systems pose a significant challenge. Oskarina and other digital workers have encountered problems with the blocking and verification of digital wallets, which often prevent them from easily moving their income. “Some have problems that block their money due to verification issues in some digital wallets. Appen, for example, uses Appen Connect as one of the payment methods, and in Venezuela, many have trouble verifying the account and withdrawing money from there,” explains Oskarina.

A colleague of Oskarina has even had over 100 U.S. dollars blocked in Toloka for months, unable to create an account in other digital wallets to withdraw funds: “They are asking for an international bank account because the Venezuelan account is not useful.” These financial obstacles are a significant impediment for digital workers who depend on these platforms for their livelihood.

Resilience and Community: Keys to Survival in the Digital Economy

Furthermore, Oskarina has faced the typical “lulls” in the workflow that are common in the digital task economy. These periods of inactivity have forced her to seek alternatives and diversify her sources of income. Despite these fluctuations, she has managed to maintain a constant and reliable workflow, working on multiple platforms simultaneously.

Oskarina’s story is also one of community and mutual support. Although the work is individual, she is part of a group of about 13 people who offer support and advice to each other. This group not only shares opportunities and strategies but also serves as an emotional support network, something crucial in a field where uncertainty is the norm.

Now, at the end of her story, this is where Airtm comes into play. The platform has become a vital ally for Oskarina and many other digital workers. Airtm provides an elegant and effective solution to one of the most significant challenges they face: accessing and managing their income in the digital economy.

More Than a Platform, an Ally for Digital Empowerment

With Airtm, Oskarina can transfer her funds from international platforms and convert them into local currency safely and efficiently. This service not only facilitates a crucial part of her work but also offers her peace of mind knowing that she can access her earnings without the complications that often arise in traditional financial systems in her region.

Incorporating Airtm into her life has been more than a convenience; it has been a transformation that has allowed her to focus more on her work and less on financial worries. This type of support is fundamental to empowering workers like Oskarina, allowing them to make the most of the opportunities offered by the global digital economy.

In conclusion, Oskarina’s story is not just a tale of survival in the digital economy; it is a story of triumph and empowerment. Airtm is proud to be part of these stories, providing the necessary tools for workers around the world, especially in the global south, to not only participate in the digital economy but to thrive in it.


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