Hundreds of sports shoes donated to migrant workers for sports event

Migrant workers playing paintball during ItsRainingRaincoats' sports day on Aug 21, 2022. PHOTO: ITSRAININGRAINCOATS

SINGAPORE - When a call was put up on Facebook on Aug 17, hundreds of people responded and donated used and new sports shoes to a non-profit organisation for migrant workers.

In five days, hundreds of shoes were dropped off at 12 collection points - the homes of ItsRainingRaincoats volunteers - across the island.

The donation drive was initiated by ItsRainingRaincoats after it realised many migrant workers do not have sports shoes while it was organising a sports day with activities such as paintball, archery tag and dance workouts.

ItsRainingRaincoats founder Dipa Swaminathan, 50, said: "We've been flooded with sports shoes.

"For years, ItsRainingRaincoats has been collecting pre-loved items because we believe in compassion as well as sustainability. We don't want people to throw away things they don't need but which migrant workers do need but cannot afford."

About 50 migrant workers received the donated shoes during a drive-by distribution to construction sites on Aug 20, and more than 20 migrant workers put the shoes to good use at the sports day on Aug 21.

The undistributed shoes have been placed in InspIRRe, the non-profit's new space in Upper Paya Lebar Road that will be launched on Sept 3. Migrant workers can pick up free items from the space, which welcomes the public to donate items such as bags, mattresses, fans and rice cookers.

Mr Panneerparthiban, 33, a migrant worker who received a pair of shoes and took part in the sports day, said he likes the shoes and plans to wear them on weekends and to exercise.

He added that he could not afford sports shoes as he earns about $900 a month and sends about $650 to his family back home.

Ms Dipa said many of the donated sports shoes were of good quality, with brands such as Nike, Adidas, Vans and Converse. Some donors even bought new shoes for the migrant workers.

One of ItsRainingRaincoats' regular donors, Ms Sudha Rani Belalla, 39, who has donated shoes and hand luggage previously, said: "I feel that shoes will give them good support to walk further."

The IT professional added that her family will pick out items from their home to donate to the needy once a month because her father had instilled in her the importance of giving back, even though they are not rich.

The donation drive was initiated by ItsRainingRaincoats after it realised many migrant workers do not have sports shoes. PHOTO: ITSRAININGRAINCOATS/FACEBOOK

Another donor and volunteer, Ms Neera Gupta, 45, said she has donated shoes, clothes and other items to migrant workers in the past.

As a volunteer, she has opened up her home to collect donated items and sometimes travelled to donors' homes to pick up items.

The chief visionary officer at Global Influencers Publishing House said: "Sometimes my home does look like a Salvation Army collection centre."

"But it is a small commitment, compared to the joy that we can bring to them and everything that the migrant brothers are doing for us in Singapore," she added.

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