14 November 2020
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