Opening Doors and Building a More Inclusive Singapore with Just An Extra Chair
Living apart from their families, for long periods of time, can be a lonely experience for guest workers here. Many of them may also be especially emotionally vulnerable during joyous occasions because they are unable to afford tickets home, to spend the holidays with their family. Yet, with a collaborative local community effort to embrace guest workers like our very own by opening our homes and sharing meals with them, we could make a whole lot of difference.
Aiming to build a more inclusive environment for guest workers in Singapore through sharing meals, Just An Extra Chair is a joint initiative by the Alliance of Guest Workers Outreach (AGWO)—a movement of Hope Initiative Alliance—and the Singapore Kindness Movement (SKM). The project seeks to connect individuals who have nowhere to go during festive seasons—such as Christmas, Lunar New Year and other holidays—with Singaporeans who have an extra seat or more at their dining table.
In an effort to reach out to guest workers during Christmas and Lunar New Year periods, AGWO joined the collaborative efforts to urge local communities to sign up to host workers for meals at their houses. As part of Just An Extra Chair, individuals could opt to either approach guest workers already present within their social circles or within their neighbourhoods. Each Host would then receive a Let’s Makan kit—inclusive of a guide to hosting guest workers, recipe cards, and other useful necessities.
Asokan, a 27-year-old Indian national guest worker, who was received as a guest, shared that the experience made him feel welcome and far from alone. “Even though my family is far away, it makes me feel very happy to know that Singaporeans can treat me like a friend to celebrate with too. Eating at my host’s house felt like I was eating at my own grandfather’s house. I am very thankful for the kindness that was shown to me. I will never forget it.”
Join us in taking the opportunity to bless these often-neglected guest workers with a hearty meal—as a gesture of gratitude and recognition for their contributions, which have worked towards building our city-state.
Visit kindness.sg/just-an-extra-chair for more information about the initiative.
Singapore Kindness Movement