Snaking queues formed at Punggol Dormitory yesterday as the migrant workers living there were given food, clothing and other necessities that Singaporeans had donated. There were shirts, pants, toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, Milo sachets, bags and shoes.
The distribution was organised by a volunteer group called Migrant Matters. This was Migrant Matters' third official outreach to foreign workers.
Early this month, the group started collecting donated items at six collection points around Singapore. Since then, they had collected thousands of items that were sorted into various categories and sizes to benefit almost 3,000 workers.
Said its co-founder Pearlyn Tam, 27, who co-owns an events company: "As many of our migrant brothers are fathers, we thought it would be most apt to show appreciation on Father's Day and to throw a celebration for them as Hari Raya is around the corner."
She started the group in June last year after befriending a migrant worker and learning that the workers shared clothes because they did not have enough. "We started asking the people around us to contribute their pre-loved clothing and some necessities or food," she said.
The project has carried on since, with Ms Tam sometimes visiting the dormitory with treats left over from the events her company organises.
Working with Ms Tam is Ms Brenda Eng, 29, who is the co-owner of their events company Party Blasters, and a team of 10 volunteers.
One of the volunteers, student Sheri Teh, 23, said: "I think that migrant workers are very much overlooked in Singapore and it's very nice of Pearlyn to come up with this initiative, so I want to do my part."
Migrant worker Mukul Hossine, 26, from Bangladesh, who volunteers with Migrant Matters and yesterday collected some items for his co-workers, said the donated clothes make a big difference in lifting the spirits of migrant workers.
"In Singapore, things are very expensive and most of us are very poor. Hari Raya is special for Muslim migrant workers but many cannot afford to buy new clothes," he said.
Kok Xing Hui