“Migrant workers volunteer to clean Pasir Ris beach on Saturday” said the headline in the Straits Times, 17 October 2018.
Indeed, that’s what a large group of TWC2 clients did, led by Irene Ong and Marcel Bandur, joint leaders of our Discover Singapore team. This team organises activities for the workers under our care every two weeks or so, taking them to various places including Marina Bay Sands Skypark as in the header pic.
Having lodged salary or injury claims against their employers, they have lost their jobs, yet are required to stay on in Singapore till the conclusion of their cases. Boredom can set in. Depression too if the injury is severe or the weight of family responsibility — yet with no money to send home — is too heavy. But thanks to the tireless efforts of Irene, Marcel our many sponsors, there are at least some days when the men can be free of their problems.
The Straits Times story began:
What are you doing this weekend? For a group of migrant workers, they are spending their Saturday (Oct 20) at the beach at Pasir Ris Park.
But instead of relaxing there, they will be cleaning it up – for free.
In a post on its Facebook page on Wednesday, non-governmental organisation Transient Workers Count Too (TWC2) said that about 10 workers have approached it to help with the volunteering effort.
In actual fact, closer to twenty as this picture shows, though admixed among them are some other volunteers of TWC2 too. Moreover, the idea of doing a bit of community service came from the men themselves. The newspaper quoted Marcel saying:
“Many of them used to work nearby, and went to the beach to have lunch or relax after work. They wanted to feel like a part of the community and give back to it.”
The selection of photos below are from Discover Singapore’s activities in the last few months.
Migrant construction workers built Marina Bay Sands, yet the entry price makes its Skypark out of bounds. Netflix came along to sponsor a day-out, and our men had a blast.
It doesn’t take a big international corporation to sponsor and organise an activity. Students of NUS Sheares Hall oragnised a multi-faceted event with volleyball, frisbee and football. Plus a session where the men try their hands at making their own tie-dye T-shirts.
The above photo is from Pasir Ris beach again. Marcel is at left.
In September 2018, Discovery Channel sponsored an outing to the Trick-eye Museum. Your webmaster had not even heard of it. TWC2’s men are going to interesting places where Singaporeans like him haven’t been to. To the man, our workers whipped out their phones and took picture after picture as they revelled in the illusions.
In October 2018, Credit Suisse Singapore made the wish of many men come true: a visit to Universal Studios — probably one of the most requested sights. Together with the company’s staff and volunteers, all enjoyed a fantastic day full of rides, screams and joy! We took a poll and found for all every one our men, it was their first time on a rollercoaster.
Slightly less adrenalin-filled was the river cruise sponsored by the Indian Women’s Association.
It was a pleasant day seeing Singapore from a different — perhaps somewhat touristy — angle. It was followed by a lovely buffet dinner, also organised by the Indian Women’s Association.
The last picture is from the Sheares Hall day. TWC2 and our partners may be able to lighten up some days for the men, but their families and friends back home are never far from their minds.