170,000 Bags Of Deepavali Treats For Migrant Workers Prepared By MOM & Various Hindu Temples

During the Deepavali holiday, which was on Saturday (14 Nov), many migrant workers in Singapore might be wishing they could celebrate back home with their family, especially after such a hard year.

To give our migrant workers a small taste of home, 170,000 bags of Deepavali goodies were distributed to them.

And as they’re unable to visit temples to mark the festival, many temples have offered prayers via live-streaming.

Photo courtesy of MOM

Migrant workers from 144 dorms get treats

According to a press release from the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) on Saturday (14 Nov), migrant workers across 144 dormitories got the treats.

Each pack contained 1 packet of an Indian savory food (murukku or a mix) and 1 packet of an Indian sweet treat (laddu, mysore pak or burfi), as well as drinks.

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Manpower Minister Josephine Teo and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Tan See Leng visited a selected dorm on Saturday (14 Nov) to give out the treats.

Photo courtesy of MOM

The workers were also given colourful handmade Deepavali cards.

Photo courtesy of MOM

Temples also sent Deepavali messages, prayers and greetings to the workers via video.

Josephine Teo refers to ‘darkness’ upon Singapore

Mrs Teo said in a Facebook post on Saturday (14 Nov) that when the pandemic came to Singapore, it “felt like darkness had descended” on the nation.

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She acknowledged that it had been difficult for migrant workers in dorms.

Thus, it’s appropriate to celebrate “the triumph of light over darkness” during Deepavali — hence the “moment of light” when various organisations can come together to give back to the community.

A united effort

What Mrs Teo was probably referring to was the organisations and people that worked together to make the goodies distribution possible.

The treats were prepared by The Hindu Endowments Board (HEB), various Hindu Temples and Sikh Gurudwaras, NPS International School and the Assurance, Care and Engagement (ACE) Group — an agency under the MOM.

Photo courtesy of MOM

This is the list of Hindu temples and Sikh organisations that prepared about 51,000 packets.

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The rest were prepared by vendors who specialise in festive goodies.

Additionally, about 1,000 volunteers from grassroots and non-governmental organisations such as Crisis Relief Alliance, Hope Initiative Alliance, and Itsrainingraincoats helped to distribute the packs to migrant workers.

Temples live-streaming prayers

On Deepavali, most Hindus would want to head down to the temple.

However, the Covid-19 pandemic doesn’t allow large numbers of people to crowd in temples, so many temples have live-streamed their prayers.

This year, the ACE Group and HEB recorded religious prayers and greetings by temple priests, and shared them with migrant workers on social media.

This effort is so that workers can “enjoy the sense of community and connection with the temples”, MOM said.

On Sunday (15 Nov), there’ll also be a special Deepavali digital show organised by Migrant Workers’ Centre and SingTel.

Celebrities like Abirami Iyer will be performing online from India, and there’ll be interactive
games and quizzes for prizes too.

More surprises in store

Welfare group Itsrainingraincoats also posted on Facebook that next Saturday (21 Nov), it would be giving out more surprises to migrant workers.

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The goodies it will disburse include pizzas, samosas, cream rolls and drinks.

The group is seeking donors and volunteers for the initiative, so to take part, sign up here.

Giving migrant workers a sense of normality

If you think Singaporeans have had it tough this year due to Covid-19, our migrant workers have had it worse.

As most of the infected were migrant workers in dorms, even those who weren’t infected had to deal with the loss of freedom due to isolation.

Now that the worst seems over, it’s great that we can help them celebrate Deepavali in some small way, to give them a sense of normality again.

Kudos to the various organisations and volunteers for their efforts.

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Featured images from Facebook and courtesy of MOM.