$120,000 gift to help foreign workers

Close to 300 foreign workers breaking fast at Pasir Ris Park on July 12, 2015. The event which included a walk and a concert was organised by the Paya Lebar Methodist Church and NGO Healthserve.
Close to 300 foreign workers breaking fast at Pasir Ris Park on July 12, 2015. The event which included a walk and a concert was organised by the Paya Lebar Methodist Church and NGO Healthserve.ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG
At the picnic and concert at Pasir Ris Park yesterday were (from left): Modlasur Rohman, 31; Goni Osman, 25; MD Romizuddin, 26; and MD Omar Faruk, 38.
At the picnic and concert at Pasir Ris Park yesterday were (from left): Modlasur Rohman, 31; Goni Osman, 25; MD Romizuddin, 26; and MD Omar Faruk, 38.PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG

Some 300 foreign workers received a $400 surprise each yesterday.

The money was a gift from non-government group Healthserve and Paya Lebar Methodist Church to help cover food and medical expenses for the workers, most of whom were unable to work because of injury or unresolved disputes with their employers.

The church raised the $120,000 from its congregation and presented the cheques to the men after a picnic and concert at Pasir Ris Park.

It said: "They often experience hardship due to low daily wages and difficult working conditions. Their hardship is made worse when they get injured, are unable to work and, thus, do not earn wages.

"Many become depressed and utterly helpless as they are unable to provide for their basic needs here, let alone send money back home to support their families."

While the Pasir Ris event was held to show appreciation to foreign workers, another group of foreign workers turned the tables around by giving up their rest day to volunteer at a children's home.

The National Trades Union Congress (NTUC)-backed Migrant Workers Centre arranged for 30 Bangladeshi workers to clean Jamiyah Children's Home in Guillemard Crescent. NTUC assistant secretary-general Yeo Guat Kwang, who chairs the centre, said that the move demonstrates "the desire among migrant workers" to do something for Singapore by helping the less privileged.

Toh Yong Chuan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 13, 2015, with the headline '$120,000 gift to help foreign workers'. Print Edition | Subscribe