A National Day Celebration Show for the Guest Workers Streamed Live on 8 August at 8pm on AGWO’s Social Media Platforms
In celebration of Singapore’s 56th Anniversary, the Alliance of Guest Workers Outreach (AGWO)—a movement of Hope Initiative Alliance (HIA)—organised “The Road Ahead... Together” a special National Day celebration to honour and appreciate the contribution of our guest workers and foreign domestic workers to Singapore. This special virtual show was streamed live on AGWO’s Facebook Page (AGWOSG) and YouTube Channel (Alliance of Guest Workers Outreach) on 8 August at 8pm. The event was in partnership with the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and Project Dorm and was supported by Cochrane Recreation Centre (RC), Tuas South RC, Kranji RC, Penjuru RC, and Terusan RC.
There were special performances by Anthem of Hearts—a band that has performed in prestigious venues and programmes such as Vasantham's Nenjukullae in 2017 and Pradhana Vizha. Awlad—who has been popular with his electrifying Bengali songs amongst the guest worker community—who also collaborated with the Anthem of Hearts. There were also exciting and interactive dance performances by Yaar Panj-Aab Bhangra Troupe—a group of young Bhangra dancers coming together to show a fusion of rich Bhangra culture with innovative modern dance moves. Rhythms Aesthetic Society also performed an interpretative dance number—a group of dancers that staged Krishna Guruvayoorappa, His Mystical Journey, a prestigious theatre production at Victoria Theatre.
Mr Ezekiel Tan, President of Hope Initiative Alliance said, “The pandemic has affected many of the guest workers. They feel homesick and also miss gathering with their friends in Singapore, owing to the health and safety protocols. Through this event, we hope that such a gesture of care towards them would bring them some much-needed cheer.”
Mr Samuel Gift Stephen, Lead Director of the Alliance of Guest Workers Outreach, also shared, “It is also a way to appreciate the sacrifice of our guest workers, who have made such invaluable contributions to Singapore, and to recognise their courage, strength, and resilience.”
“As we celebrate our National Day, we want to acknowledge and recognise the contributions of our migrant workers who have helped to build and develop our country. We would like to thank our community partners AGWO and HIA for organising this show to bring our National Day celebrations and cheer to our migrant worker friends,” said Mr Tung Yui Fai, Chief of the Assurance, Care and Engagement Group (ACE) from the Ministry of Manpower.
There was a lucky draw by AGWO, where registrants—who registered by 1 August—stood a chance to win $3000 worth of cash prizes. The Ministry of Manpower also partnered with Singtel to organise a contest for our guest-worker brothers to design a greeting card that depicts what the Singapore Spirit means to them. The winners of the contest were revealed during the show. In addition, there were also special appearances by some of the guest-worker brothers who wished Singapore a happy birthday in their native language.
AGWO also organised a weekly donation drive, supported by Dorm Mums—a dedicated group of female volunteers who have been taking care of the well-being of our brothers tirelessly. As part of this initiative, AGWO had a three-day cupcake distribution exercise for 8,000 guest workers during the National Day celebration. During the school holiday, 6,800 goodies were also baked and delivered to 50 dormitories.
Alliance of Guest Workers Outreach Celebrates Hari Raya Puasa with Guest Workers Amidst Strict COVID-19 Restrictions
On 13 May 2021, the Alliance of Guest Workers Outreach (AGWO)—a movement of Hope Initiative Alliance (HIA)—distributed festive meals and gifts, such as lungis (a type of sarong) to about 2,600 guest workers from 30 factory-converted dormitories (FCDs) in celebration of Hari Raya Puasa.
This distribution was made possible in partnership with the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), amidst strict regulations in response to the recent outbreak of COVID-19 in the guest worker population. The way in which this festive distribution was done compared to others done by AGWO in the past is markedly different, featuring contactless drop-offs of food and gifts by our partners and volunteers, and timely reporting to MOM of the details of each drop-off to ensure that the required permits are granted before the drop-off can proceed.
In the lead-up to Hari Raya Puasa, AGWO also worked with its partners to deliver festive meals and gifts to 14 FCDs to bring some festive cheer to workers who are still mostly confined to their dormitories except for when they leave for work.
At one of the FCDs on 13 May 2021, AGWO partnered MUIS to arrange for a special meeting with Deputy Mufti, MUIS, Ustaz Dr Mohammad Hannan Hassan. Deputy Mufti thanked the guest workers for standing strong and united with fellow Singaporeans in the face of the pandemic. He also assured them that they are not alone in this journey, and that Singaporeans will continue to support them and treat them respectfully as our guests. Deputy Mufti then prayed for their wellbeing, safety and health, and that they remain strong and steadfast. 100 sets of festive meals and lungis were given out to the residents of the dormitory.
President of HIA, Rev Ezekiel Tan said, “We are glad to be able to partner MOM to celebrate Hari Raya Puasa with our guest worker brothers. Many are homesick and also miss gathering with their friends in Singapore owing to the pandemic measures that have been in place for more than a year. We hope that today’s gesture of care towards them brings them some much-needed cheer amidst the gloom.”
Hope Initiative Alliance and SowCare Launch First-Ever Interfaith Charity Initiative for the Youth
On 3 April 2021, more than 30 representatives from various civil groups, social service organisations and the public sector came together to launch SowCare Together, a youth interfaith initiative that aims to bring young people together to do good. It is the first-ever interfaith charity initiative for youths organised by Hope Initiative Alliance (HIA) and co-organised by SowCare. This initiative is supported by the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY), the Ministry of Manpower, the Ministry of Social and Family Development, and also in collaboration with the Inter-religious Organisation, Singapore, Inter-racial and Religious Confidence Circles and the Singapore Kindness Movement, among other organisations.
Mr Alvin Tan, Minister of State, Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth & Ministry of Trade and Industry, launched the SowCare Together initiative with representatives from the various partnering organisations.
The story of SowCare Together started with MCCY’s Mission:Unite Hackathon organised in December 2020. A team from SowCare had the opportunity to join the hackathon, which brought together people of all ages to come up with ideas to build social cohesion and harmony. The SowCare Together team showcased their solutions in front of the panel of judges and proposed an initiative that encouraged more partners and volunteers to join hands in doing good, and at the same time foster mutual respect and positive attitudes between religious communities. The SowCare Together team eventually emerged as one of the top ten finalists out of 41 teams and received a grant of up to SGD$20,000 under MCCY’s Harmony Fund on 5 December 2020, to implement its plans for bringing people of different religions together to do good.
As part of the initiative, volunteers will be recruited to attend a talk about a religion different from their own, and then get together with other volunteers of different faiths to plan and execute a charity project for beneficiaries such as the homeless, guest workers, ex-offenders, youth-at-risk and the marginalised. The initiative aims to engage around 300 volunteers consisting of youth aged 15 and above. From April to June this year, the volunteers will plan and execute relevant activities to meet the needs of beneficiaries from our partnering charities, such as Care Corner Singapore and New Hope Community Services.
Speaking about the relevance of such an initiative in today’s climate, President of HIA, Rev. Ezekiel Tan, said, “In a multi-racial, multi-religious society like Singapore, understanding the basis of different faiths will go a long way to help us live in harmony. With recent incidents of self-radicalised youths planning attacks on places of worship, there is increasingly a need to foster religious harmony, especially amongst our young people. Through SowCare Together, we hope to channel the passion and energy of the youth towards good works and interfaith engagement, all while improving the lives of underprivileged communities in Singapore.”
Members of the public who would like to find out more or register as a volunteer can do so at https://www.sowcaretogether.sg.
AGWO Guest Worker Ambassador Appreciation Night
On 14 March 2021, the Hope Initiative Alliance and Alliance of Guest Workers Outreach (AGWO) team gathered with about 80 AGWO Guest Worker Ambassadors at the Tuas South Recreation Centre to honour them for their role in taking care of their fellow guest workers, especially during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. There were games, a recorded song performance by guest worker Awlad, and a special meal served to appreciate the efforts of our guest worker ambassadors. The Guest Worker Ambassadors also received certificates of appreciation and customised badges for them to wear when on duty.
We also presented awards to three Guest Worker Ambassadors for being exceptional in their leadership and care for other guest workers - Rubel Bepari, Mathiyalagan Annalakshmi Ranjithkumar and Jayaraman Thirunavukkarasu.
We would like to once again convey our heartfelt thanks to all the Guest Worker Ambassadors for partnering with us to ensure that their fellow guest workers are well taken care of, no matter what the needs or challenges may be.
HIA Appreciation Event
On 27 January 2021, Hope Initiative Alliance (HIA) and the Alliance of Guest Workers Outreach—a movement of Hope Initiative Alliance—held an Appreciation Event to thank our partners, donors and volunteers. About 50 partners, donors and volunteers attended the event, while many others joined us online via Zoom and Facebook Live.
The appreciation ceremony was organised to express our deep gratitude to HIA’s key partners, donors, and volunteers, who have played a vital role in all of our efforts to provide holistic care for the vulnerable communities, especially the guest workers who have been greatly affected by the COVID-19 situation during the circuit breaker in 2020.
Because of their generous contributions and effort, we were able to distribute a total of 1,027,505 care meals and more than 1.2 million essential items, to more than 21,000 guest workers in about 300 dormitories. We definitely would not have achieved that milestone without their great support.
The Guest of Honour, Mr Zaqy Mohamad, Senior Minister of State for Defence and Manpower, handed out tokens of appreciation consisting of certificates and plaques to our partners, donors and volunteers. In his speech, Mr Mohamad lauded the good work done by HIA and its team of volunteers and partners, and stressed the importance of religious harmony, which HIA actively promotes.
Three videos were especially collated and produced, recounting HIA’s achievements and milestones in the past two years, as well as short testimonies and remarks by various partners. You can view them below:
In his thank you speech, President of HIA, Rev Ezekiel Tan said, “On behalf of our tens of thousands of beneficiaries, I would like to convey our most heartfelt thanks to every partner, donor and volunteer present here tonight, as well as those watching online. Thank you for all your giving and sacrifices. We truly value every dollar donated, every minute spent and every ounce of energy devoted to improving the lives of the less fortunate. Without you, HIA would not have been able to accomplish all that we have done in 2020. As the Holy Book says, “It is more blessed to give than to receive”. I pray you would surely receive greater blessings in the coming years. We look forward to many more opportunities to partner with you as we join hands to uplift the lives of the needy and destitute in the year ahead and many years down the road.”
We would like to thank every partner, donor and volunteer who has given so generously of their time, resources and energy; your contributions have been invaluable. If you are looking to donate, partner or volunteer with us, head over to https://www.hia.sg/support-us.
Here’s a look at what Mr Zaqy Mohamad had to say about the Appreciation Event:
International Migrant Workers Day
17 December 2020
Alliance of Guest Workers Outreach Celebrates International Migrants’ Day and Christmas with Guest Workers
On 17 December 2020, the Alliance of Guest Workers Outreach (AGWO)—a movement of Hope Initiative Alliance (HIA)—kicked off more than a week of International Migrants Day and Christmas celebrations for about 10,000 guest workers from 75 factory-converted dormitories (FCDs) nationwide. As the year draws to a close, HIA has partnered with the Assurance, Care and Engagement (ACE) Group of the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), and other core partners such as JTC Corporation (JTC), Inter-Religious Organisation, Singapore (IRO), and Inter-Racial and Religious Confidence Circle (IRCC) to bring festive joy to our guest-worker brothers and honour their contributions to society. The celebrations will span about nine days starting from the eve of International Migrants Day, on 17 December 2020, to just after Christmas Day, on 26 December 2020.
To mark the start and end of the celebrations, a special meal will be distributed to selected FCDs on 17 and 26 December. Over 1,000 guest workers will be receiving a hearty meal along with goodie bags on these two days. On 17 December 2020—the eve of International Migrants Day—AGWO launched the nine-day long celebration with an event at one of the FCDs. We distributed meals and goodie bags to over 600 guest workers residing there. Mr Tung Yui Fai, Chief of ACE Group, attended the event representing ACE Group as one of our key partners.
From 17 to 26 December 2020, our volunteers and partners will be distributing festive snacks and gifts, such as cupcakes, fruits, and customised water bottles to 75 FCDs. Small-scale Christmas celebrations will also be held in some of the FCDs and other locations to spread the festive cheer. Volunteers will be decorating 14 FCDs with Christmas ornaments to bring out the joy of Christmas. During the week, our partners will also be bringing some guest workers out to the parks for a meal and some games as part of the celebrations. This falls under the Project Sunshine initiative, which is a series of organised outings in partnership with MOM and NParks, for guest workers to enjoy some leisure time outdoors and improve their mental well-being.
On 19 and 20 December 2020, in celebration of International Migrants Day, AGWO is also working closely with MOM and JTC to set up booths at the Tuas South Recreation Centre for the guest workers when they visit. These booths include one that features a professional photographer who will be taking free profile pictures that guest workers can use for their social media networks, and a thrift stall selling electronics, clothing and footwear at highly discounted rates. There will also be activities such as cricket bowling and carrom competitions.
All guest workers participating in the slate of activities during the nine-day period can enter a nationwide lucky draw, which will feature prizes worth $3,000 in total.
President of HIA, Rev Ezekiel Tan said, “We have planned these events to honour the contributions of our guest workers and bring them some cheer in the midst of a rather gloomy time with the COVID-19 pandemic still looming large. Guest workers have played a key role in building our nation so it is only right that we take the opportunity to celebrate them and all the hard work they have put in every single day.”
We would like to thank our donors, partners and volunteers for giving their time and resources to make these celebrations with the guest workers possible. We wish that our guest workers will have a meaningful time of celebrations, and be able to feel appreciated and welcome in Singapore.
14 November 2020
The Alliance of Guest Workers Outreach Celebrates Deepavali with 8,000 Guest Workers through Distribution of Festive Meals
On 14 November 2020, the Alliance of Guest Workers Outreach (AGWO)—a movement of Hope Initiative Alliance (HIA)—distributed festive meals to about 8,000 guest workers from more than 70 factory-converted dormitories (FCDs) in celebration of Deepavali.
With Deepavali being a festive occasion celebrated in many South Asian countries, guest workers may experience homesickness being away from their families during such a festive period. This meal distribution exercise thus aims to care for the guest workers in our nation and make them feel like Singapore is their home away from home. This initiative is a continuation of AGWO’s efforts to care for the guest workers after the provision of over one million Care Meals and 1.2 million essential items to more than 21,000 guest workers from 300 dormitories from April to July this year. AGWO also launched Project Sunshine in collaboration with the Ministry of Manpower, a series of organised outdoor activities to provide guest workers with an avenue for recreation and to improve their mental wellbeing. For all these efforts, HIA won the President’s Volunteerism and Philanthropy Award 2020 in the Organisations of Good category.
AGWO mobilised more than 100 volunteer drivers who helped to deliver the food to the various FCDs across the island. The festive meal comprised chicken biryani, kesari (a type of Indian sweet), muruku, other Indian sweets and drinks. 8,000 laddus, another type of Indian sweet, also accompanied the festive meal.
AGWO was glad to partner the Assurance, Care and Engagement (ACE) Group of the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), the Inter-Religious Organisation, Singapore (IRO), the Hindu Endowments Board, the Inter-Racial and Religious Confidence Circles (IRCC) from the Nee Soon Group Representation Constituency (GRC), NGO Free Food for All and TSL Group in this initiative.
Minister of State for Culture, Community and Youth & Trade and Industry, Mr Alvin Tan, also joined the food distribution exercise on 14 November. He helped out at the food collection point and visited one of the FCDs to hand out the festive meals to the guest workers.
Highlighting the importance of partnerships between inter-religious NGOs and the public sector, President of HIA, Rev. Ezekiel Tan, said, “We are glad to bring together NGOs and MOM to celebrate Deepavali with the guest workers. In a multi-racial and multi-religious society like Singapore, it is crucial for NGOs of different faiths to work together to amplify the impact on lives of the beneficiaries, such as our guest worker community. We hope to bring some cheer and semblance of home to our guest worker brothers in these uncertain times caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Inter-Religious Organisation President, Mr Tan Thiam Lye, said, “I am heartened by the outpouring of warmth and generous giving that has enabled us to celebrate Deepavali with the guest workers in this way. IRO is pleased to partner HIA in this worthwhile initiative and look forward to more opportunities to work together.”
We would like to thank our donors, partners and volunteers for giving their time and resources to make this Deepavali celebration with the guest workers possible.
Assurance, Care and Engagement (ACE) Group of the Ministry of Manpower
Inter-Religious Organisation, Singapore
Hindu Endowments Board
Inter-Racial and Religious Confidence Circles from the Nee Soon GRC
Free Food for All
Number of volunteers: more than 100