Deepavali carnival brings festive cheer to migrant workers

Activities at the carnival included an Indian classical dance performance. There were also game booths.  ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN
Senior Minister of State for Manpower Zaqy Mohamad handing out goodie bags to migrant workers at the Penjuru Recreation Centre. ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

SINGAPORE - About 2,000 migrant workers were treated to a carnival featuring an art competition, a dance performance and games on Monday, as part of Deepavali celebrations.

The carnival, held at Penjuru Recreation Centre in Jurong East, was organised by the Ministry of Manpower’s Assurance, Care and Engagement (ACE) Group, social service agency Cornerstone Community Services and migrant worker engagement network My Brother SG.

About 50 attendees painted rangoli-inspired designs on canvases, guided by artist Vijaya Mohan, who holds the Guinness World Record for the largest rangoli pattern created.

Rangoli is an Indian art form of making colourful patterns, which are believed to bring good luck.

A panel of judges, which included Senior Minister of State for Manpower Zaqy Mohamad, chose the top three designs. The winners were awarded shopping vouchers, goodie bags and hampers.

Mr Zaqy also distributed goodie bags, containing items such as festive treats and digital watches, to attendees.

Other activities included an Indian classical dance performance. There were also game booths. 

Cornerstone Community Services executive director Lew Mi Yih said: “We recognise an increasing need to care for their mental wellness and welfare, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We want to let them know that we appreciate their contributions to nation-building, and provide them with mental and emotional support so that they do not feel alone or homesick while working in a foreign country.”

My Brother SG founder and project lead Tam Wai Jia said the celebration this year plays two significant roles for migrant workers. First, it gives them a chance to celebrate Deepavali after two years of muted festivities due to Covid-19 movement restrictions.

Second, it enables them to commemorate their resilience with one another and with the Singaporean community.

The carnival is part of Deepavali celebrations organised by ACE Group and its various partners to bring festive cheer to migrant workers. 

Other events on Monday included a special prayer session at Holy Tree Sri Balasubramaniar Temple in Yishun, where Minister of State for Manpower Gan Siow Huang was present. The session was attended by about 100 migrant workers.

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