Migrant worker activist Bridget Tan makes first public appearance here after stroke

Ms Bridget Tan, the founder of migrant workers aid group Home, making an emotional speech to mark the group's 10th anniversary before the start of the luncheon on Sunday, Dec 7, 2014. It was the first public appearance for Ms Tan here since she
Ms Bridget Tan, the founder of migrant workers aid group Home, making an emotional speech to mark the group's 10th anniversary before the start of the luncheon on Sunday, Dec 7, 2014. It was the first public appearance for Ms Tan here since she suffered a stroke in February earlier this year. -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO

SINGAPORE - It was an emotional return for Ms Bridget Tan, the founder of migrant workers aid group Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics (Home), when she attended the group's 10th anniversary celebration on Sunday.

It was the first public appearance in Singapore for Ms Tan, 66, since she suffered a stroke in February. She will be in Singapore till Saturday (Dec 13), after which she will return to Batam, where she has been recuperating.

Ms Tan said her greatest achievement of the past decade was raising Home from its local status to "international recognition at regional and Asean levels".

"Home has contributed not just to Singapore but the world," she said.

Ms Tan started Home in 2004 to help migrant workers here, using the money from her own retirement fund. The organisation has since expanded to support sex workers and combat human trafficking.

Home executive director Jolovan Wham, 34, said the organisation has made "significant inroads into improving the lives of migrant workers", such as campaigning for regular days off, as well as the recently passed human trafficking bill. However, there remains much to be done, he added.

Ms Tan, despite her condition, has no plans to retire any time soon. Even on Sunday, she is still working with non-profit groups in Batam on shelters for domestic workers who have been forcibly repatriated, as well as kindergartens for children in slums.

"The work is unending," she said. "As long as Singapore needs migrant workers, there will be a need for Home."