Marine sector raising funds to give care packs to migrant workers

The Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated the stress on migrant workers in the traditionally high-risk work environment of the marine and offshore engineering industry.

So apart from ensuring workers' occupational health, the industry needs to look at the physical and mental toll that the pandemic has wrought on them, said Mr Simon Kuik, president of the Association of Singapore Marine Industries (Asmi).

As part of its efforts, Asmi yesterday launched the Marine Migrant Workers Mental Health Challenge, a virtual run to raise funds for the workers. The aim is to get participants to collectively clock 5,000km.

The funds come from an ongoing campaign on crowdfunding website Give.Asia, from the sale of merchandise to participants and from corporate donors. The money collected will go towards 5,000 care packs for migrant workers, to be distributed on Dec 18, International Migrants Day.

More than $60,000 - enough for 4,200 care packs - had been raised over the past two weeks through sponsorships from companies in the industry, and more donations are expected in the coming weeks.

The challenge was launched during Asmi's workplace safety and health innovation convention held in Jurong Town Hall.

Senior Minister of State for Manpower and Health Koh Poh Koon, the guest of honour at the convention, thanked Asmi for galvanising the industry into raising awareness of the importance of mental health. "Our migrant workers... contribute significantly to the development and progress of our nation and as Singapore continues to battle Covid-19, some of them may really find it very hard to keep their spirits up," he said.

He added that the Ministry of Manpower is sparing no effort to strengthen the mental health support system for migrant workers, citing Project Dawn as an example. Project Dawn is a task force set up in November last year to enhance mental health care support for migrant workers in Singapore.

Dr Koh noted Asmi is a key supporter of Project Dawn initiatives.

More than 30 companies have donated to the mental health challenge and the top three corporate donors each received a token of appreciation from Dr Koh yesterday.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 13, 2021, with the headline 'Marine sector raising funds to give care packs to migrant workers'. Subscribe