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
MOM Appreciation Meeting
23 October 2020
HIA-AGWO is humbled to have been part of a virtual appreciation event by the Ministry of Manpower on 21 October. Minister for Manpower, Mrs Josephine Teo; Second Minister for Manpower and Trade and Industry, Mr Tan See Leng and Senior Minister of State for Manpower and Defence, Mr Zaqy Mohamad took the opportunity to thank MOM’s NGO partners, such as AGWO—a movement of HIA—who have worked with them to help guest workers during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
We are glad to have worked closely with MOM to distribute more than 1 million Care Meals and 1.2 million essential supplies (hygiene products, medical supplies and other food items), as well as prayer mats during the Circuit Breaker period. We are also working with MOM on Project Sunshine, a series of organised outings to improve the holistic well-being of guest workers. We will continue to complement government efforts and partner agencies such as MOM to serve the guest workers in our midst.
Many thanks also go out to our donors, partners and volunteers, without whom we would not have been able to make such an impact. Head to https://www.hia.sg/contact to find out how you can partner with us today!
HIA Wins the President’s Volunteerism and Philanthropy Award 2020
16 October 2020
Hope Initiative Alliance (HIA) is humbled and honoured to have received two nominations for the President’s Volunteerism and Philanthropy Awards (PVPA) — one each in the Organisation of Good and Leader of Good categories for HIA’s contributions to society amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Organised annually by the National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre (NVPC), the PVPA is the pinnacle award and platform to recognise individuals and groups that have achieved excellence in giving.
On 16 October 2020, HIA won the Organisation of Good Award, which its President Rev Ezekiel Tan received on behalf of HIA. Rev Samuel Gift Stephen, Lead Director of the Alliance of Guest Workers Outreach, received a special commendation in the Leader of Good category.
In the face of the greatest challenge of our generation, HIA is privileged to serve with fellow Singaporeans to provide care and assistance for the vulnerable and marginalised communities. Since the commencement of the circuit breaker in April till July, we worked with the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and Migrant Workers’ Centre to distribute 1,027,505 Care Meals and more than 1.2 million essential items (hygiene packs, medical supplies and other food items) to over 21,000 guest workers living in 300 dormitories. Supporting the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF), we have also rendered our assistance to a few hundred homeless individuals who were most affected by the pandemic through the Safe Sound Sleeping Places (S3P) initiative and the Innkeeper’s Project.
In his thank you speech, Rev Ezekiel Tan, President of HIA thanked Madam President Halimah Yacob and NVPC for this kind affirmation, that our collective efforts have made an impact. He also took the opportunity to thank our partners, donors and volunteers for their invaluable contribution to the various causes we champion. HIA is also appreciative of unsung heroes, whose names are not mentioned but have played a critical role in our endeavour to make a difference in the lives of vulnerable communities. Noting that these uncertain times have made the needs of the underprivileged in society even more pronounced, Rev Tan said, “Providing care to the needy is a privilege and has also transformed our own lives. May I invite more to join us in doing good, to shine the light of hope in this gloomy season”.
Looking ahead, we are inspired to do more. HIA will continue to give our best as an aggregator of assistance and services for the needy, reaching out especially to the guest worker and homeless communities through our partnership with agencies such as the MOM, MSF and NVPC in Project Sunshine and the Ending Homelessness Together Coalition (EHTC). Project Sunshine aims to improve the holistic wellbeing of guest workers through a series of organised outdoor activities that provide guest workers with an avenue for recreation and leisure. The homeless community will also remain a key beneficiary of our efforts through EHTC as we partner MSF, SowCare and New Hope Community Services in their respective programmes that provide temporary shelter for the rough sleepers.
We would like to invite you to partner with us and make a difference in the lives of many. Click the button below to find out how you can donate, partner or volunteer with us!
Watch this video to hear from the HIA President as he accepts the Award on behalf of HIA.
About Hope Initiative Alliance (HIA)
HIA is an inter-racial, interreligious and intercultural charity organisation that aims to provide holistic care for the vulnerable and marginalised communities. As a comprehensive aggregator of assistance and services for the needy, we partner with more than 100 organisations, including government agencies, social service organisations, civil groups, corporations and volunteers.
About the President’s Volunteerism and Philanthropy Awards
The President’s Volunteerism and Philanthropy Awards is the pinnacle award and platform to recognise individuals and groups that have achieved excellence in giving. These awards represent the highest honour for giving to the community and are conferred by the President of the Republic of Singapore. It is organised annually by the National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre (NVPC), who is the steward of the City of Good vision, with support from the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY).
The Organisation of Good Awards recognise organisations (corporates, non-profit organisations and public institutions) who have had exemplary pandemic-specific responses and are active contributors to the community during the COVID-19 pandemic period.
The Leader of Good Awards recognise Individuals who are exceptional multiplier leaders, who have devoted their time, talent, treasure and/or voice to create a positive impact in society and galvanised others to do good, thereby multiplying their impact to the community during the COVID-19 pandemic period.
The People of Good Awards recognise individuals who are exceptional relational givers and have voluntarily devoted their time, talent, treasure and/or voice to create a positive impact in society during the COVID-19 pandemic period. These individuals should have demonstrated that they went above and beyond their usual daily routine.
Dream Dreams Again: Reaching and Caring for the Guest Workers
As COVID-19 affects all aspects of our lives, it also impacts and continues to determine the life courses of many guest workers in Singapore, especially those who are living in factory-converted dormitories (FCDs).
Launched on Good Friday, 10 April, by the Alliance of Guest Workers Outreach - a movement of Hope Initiative Alliance - the Care Meals Distribution Project evolved to last three months, providing a total of more than 1 million Care Meals for hundreds of thousands of guest workers in more than 300 FCDs.
Beyond Phases 1 and 2, the initiative is also rolling out a series of educational programmes. The goal is to enable guest workers to not give up on their dreams, through up-skilling and educational initiatives, which will give them a shot at a better life. Additionally, a series of recreational activities will be launched from sports and community events to professional services. These programmes include:
Wellness Services (Medical Assistance, Legal Advice and Health Services)
in partnership with government agencies and partners, such as SATA CommHealth, the Singapore Medical Association, HealthServe, and the Singapore Pastoral Institute. Guest workers will thus be able to access essential services at heavily-subsidised costs.
Entertainment Avenues such as roadshows, talent competitions, as well as mobile thrift stores and flea markets. The aim is to alleviate their feelings of homesickness and bring smiles to their faces.
Sports Initiatives such as football, cricket, basketball, badminton, and table tennis competitions, as well as introducing them to new forms of exercise, such as CrossFit. Mini-olympics will also be organised with government agencies, such as the Singapore Sports Council and the Singapore Masters Athletics.
To organise spoken English classes (Talk2Walk), financial management seminars (Money Talks), business management courses, computer literacy classes, career progression advice services, media programmes, and life skill courses - in partnership with SDI Academy, IPP Consulting, as well as trainers who have licenses to teach Microsoft and Adobe Photoshop skills.
To promote social integration, in partnership with the Inter-Religious Organisation (Singapore) and iFriend - a platform to connect Singaporeans with guest workers - facilitating the bridging of cultures through food exchanges and more.
For more information on the aforementioned initiatives and ways to support and/or avail services and assistance, visit agwo.sg.