2,400 repurposed NDP packs donated to migrant workers

Sembawang Central Malay Activities Executive Committee members were among groups and individuals who helped put together care packs for migrant workers.
Sembawang Central Malay Activities Executive Committee members were among groups and individuals who helped put together care packs for migrant workers.PHOTO: SEMBAWANG CENTRAL MALAY ACTIVITIES EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

National Day celebrations may be over, but some Singaporeans are holding fast to the National Day Parade (NDP) message of "Together, A Stronger Singapore".

More than 2,400 repurposed NDP packs have been donated to migrant workers by residents via the #SGgratitudepack campaign that began on National Day.

The initiative was driven by local community cooperative A Good Space, which brings together individuals and groups such as charities, advocates and social enterprises for civic engagement.

The organisers contacted a group of migrant workers to identify the items they needed while weathering the Covid-19 pandemic.

The list of items, which included masks, power banks, kettles and rice cookers, helped to guide donors in their contribution.

Co-founder of outdoor adventure social enterprise SerendipET and a member of the organising team, Mr Tines Anbarasan, 35, saw the initiative as an opportunity to reach out to the migrant workers.

"Many of the migrant workers we spoke to have come to see Singapore as their second home," he said.

"They were unanimous in expressing how they will cherish the gratitude pack as a gift and reassurance that they are welcome here."

By Aug 31, the campaign had collected more than 1,200 packs from the public. It also received support from global biopharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, which rallied its employees and a group of cancer survivors under their Cancer Can Give movement to put together almost 1,200 care packs.

One such volunteer is Mr Ellil Mathiyan Lakshmanan, 60, a security agency director. He said he and the other 12 cancer survivors in his group find personal fulfilment in giving back to society through the initiative.

"As cancer survivors, we have all gone through a difficult journey and adopt a different perspective towards life. We empathise with the migrant workers who have been isolated for the past few months," said Mr Mathiyan.

 
 
 

The care packs were distributed to migrant workers at six locations from early this month.

For one of the recipients, Mr Mondal Md Esrafil, it was the small items in his pack that brightened up his day.

As the sole breadwinner of his family back in Bangladesh, Mr Esrafil, 32, who has been in Singapore for 10 years and works as a senior technician in a local hospital, said: "In the pack, there are items such as soap, shampoo, toothbrush and biscuits. These are items that I use daily and I feel happy receiving them. In these times, sometimes we may not be able to go outside, so this pack is helpful to me."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 23, 2020, with the headline '2,400 repurposed NDP packs donated to migrant workers'. Print Edition | Subscribe