Migrant workers receive Deepavali treats from community groups

Migrant workers receiving Deepavali treats from community groups in Singapore.
Migrant workers receiving Deepavali treats from community groups in Singapore. (PHOTO: Singapore Ministry of Manpower)

SINGAPORE — Migrant workers across 144 dormitories in Singapore received 170,000 packs of festive treats from community groups in celebration of Deepavali on Saturday (14 November).

Organised by the Assurance, Care and Engagement (ACE) Group under the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), the Deepavali treats were contributed by the Hindu Endowments Board (HEB), the Coordinating Council of Sikh Institutions, various Hindu Temples and Sikh Gurudwaras and NPS International School.

ACE Group also worked with grassroots and non-governmental organisations such as Crisis Relief Alliance, Hope Initiative Alliance, COVID-19 Migrant Support Coalition, Covenant Evangelical Free Church and Itsrainingraincoats to distribute the festive goodies to the workers. In total, over 1,000 volunteers participated in the initiative.

This is the second time this year that Hindu temples have banded together to help migrant workers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. In April, the temples and other organisations prepared and distributed 120,000 Indian sweets to migrant workers for the Indian New Year, and also provided 7,000 care packs containing essential items to recovered migrant workers who were discharged from hospital.

Pre-record prayers, digital show

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many Hindu temples have live-streamed their Deepavali prayers online. ACE Group has worked with HEB to pre-record religious prayers and greetings by the chief priests of the temples, and allow workers to share them via social media.

Migrant Workers’ Centre (MWC) and Singtel will also co-organise a special Deepavali digital show for migrant workers on Sunday, when workers can enjoy performances by their favourite Indian artistes and participate in interactive games and quizzes to win attractive prizes.

MWC chairman Yeo Guat Kwang said that the migrant workers have had a very challenging past few months, due to the strict measures implemented by authorities to curb the COVID-19 outbreak amid the dormitories.

“Many of the stakeholders are cautiously optimistic that the worst appears to be over, and it is therefore timely during this festive period to recognise and laud the contributions of some of the true heroes of this pandemic – the workers themselves,” he said in a media release on Saturday.

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