Singapore — A total of 170,000 packs of specially made festive treats for Deepavali were distributed to migrant workers across 144 dormitories by the Assurance, Care and Engagement (ACE) Group under the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and community partners.

The ACE Group, the Hindu Endowments Board (HEB) and the Coordinating Council of Sikh Institutions (CCSI) organised the effort to spread festive cheer to the migrant workers.

The 170,000 packs of Deepavali treats were contributed by HEB, CCSI, various Hindu temples and Sikh gurudwaras, NPS International School and the ACE Group.

The ACE Group also worked with grassroots and non-government organisations such as Crisis Relief Alliance, Hope Initiative Alliance, Covid-19 Migrant Support Coalition, Covenant Evangelical Free Church and Itsrainingraincoats to distribute the festive goodies. More than 1,000 volunteers took part in the initiative.

Most Hindus visit temples to mark the special day. Due to the Covid-19 situation, many of these temples began live-streaming their prayers online. For Deepavali this year, the ACE Group worked with HEB to pre-record religious prayers and greetings by the chief priests of the temples which were shared with migrant workers through social media. This allowed workers to enjoy the sense of community and connection with the temples.

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HEB chairman R Jayachandran said: “Hindu temples across Singapore and Sikh organisations have banded together to do something meaningful for our friends from the migrant worker community.

“They are here away from their families and loved ones during this festive period and we hope that our small gesture will brighten up their day. We look forward to more such collaborations with community and government agencies.”

Migrant Workers’ Centre chairman Yeo Guat Kwang said: “The last few months have been very challenging for many of our migrant brothers in the dormitories. They have cooperated with the measures implemented by the authorities and have generally taken all the controls in the right spirit, that these have been necessary for the safety and protection of all.

“Many of the stakeholders are cautiously optimistic that the worst appears to be over and it is therefore timely during this festive period to recognise and laud the contributions of some of the true heroes of this pandemic – the workers themselves.”

He added: “For us at the MWC, after having worked with the authorities and the workers since the dormitory campaign began, we are very pleased to partner MOM ACE Group in these very meaningful initiatives and bring our workers as much festive cheer as we can.”

ACE Group chief Tung Yui Fai said: “This is the first year since the inception of the ACE Group that we are organising this initiative with multiple stakeholders. We are heartened to see many stepping forward to celebrate the occasion with our migrant workers. We look forward to more of such collaborations in future.” /TISG