You’ve probably made plans for Christmas: Perhaps you’ll be enjoying a hearty family dinner over the public holiday. Or travelling over the festive period and indulging in a well-earned break.
But, for many of the 700,000 migrant workers in Singapore, they won’t be celebrating with a meal or a trip. Many of them won’t even be anywhere near their loved ones, even as they struggle to pay off their debts to their agencies.
A gift for each of Singapore’s 700,000 migrant workers
Knowing how lonely the festive season can be for migrant workers, local non-profit migrant workers welfare group #Itsrainingraincoats hopes to gift each migrant worker in Singapore a thoughtful, beautifully-wrapped Christmas present.
Speaking to The Pride, Itsrainingraincoats founder Dipa Swaminathan said: “We wanted to come up with something simple that would get people involved, so we came up with this initiative.”
“Christmas is coming, and we have a dream,” Itsrainingraincoats wrote in a Facebook post on Nov 9. “A dream that in December 2018, in Singapore, each of the nearly 700,000 migrant workers here will have a little colourfully and cheerily-wrapped Christmas present given to him!”
In another Facebook post, the welfare group writes: “If 100,000 Singaporeans gave 7 small presents each – it could be just a Tiger Balm or an umbrella, gift-wrapped – every single migrant worker in Singapore would have a gift. It’s a big dream but we believe we can do it with you!!”
The daunting task of collecting 700,000 gifts was not lost on Itsrainingraincoats.
They have collected about 10,000 presents since Nov 16, but that’s still way short of their goal of 700,000 gifts.
However, Itsrainingraincoats still firmly believes that, with the kindness of Singaporeans, this behemoth task can be achieved.
For example, one kind donor recently gifted nearly 1,000 cakes. In a Facebook post, Itsrainingraincoats writes: “Thanks to a kind donor, nearly 1,000 cakes were distributed to migrant workers this week! What a treat for them. The last distribution I did today felt so good. I was grinning all the way back home – I was following a truckload of migrant workers and when we stopped at a signal I jumped out of my car, ran over and handed them the cake boxes! The looks on their faces as I drove past them was priceless!”
You can play a part too, by dropping off gifts at collection points
Those who are interested in being a part of this Christmas initiative can do so by gathering a few simple, practical gifts and then dropping them off at various points across Singapore.
Dipa recommends people gift the migrant workers small, but useful gifts – such as Tiger Balm for their sore muscles, pre-paid SIM cards to call their loved ones with, or raincoats, to protect from Singapore’s weather.
To make a donation, simply send a direct message to the Facebook group.
Then, volunteers from Itsrainingraincoats will collect the items, and gift them to the workers.