By Russell Heng
A year ago, TWC2 had a financial crisis where funds were so low, we were faced with closing up in less than five months.
Around that time, journalist and editorial consultant Irene Hoe was planning to celebrate her birthday. Hearing of our plight, she had a simple answer when her friends asked what she would like as a gift.
“Make a donation to Transient Workers Count Too (TWC2)”, she suggested. That, accompanied by an email blast to people she knew, saw donations to TWC2 increased by some $3,000 in the month that followed.
Asked why she made this gesture, Irene related a story from the 1980s when she wrote an article on the mistreatment of foreign domestic workers in Singapore, most of them from the Philippines at that time. A domestic worker was not allowed to sit on a couch in the home of somebody she knew. Another had to wake up at the crack of dawn every morning to wash several cars. It was not difficult to hear about or witness firsthand the ghastly behaviour by some employers.
“One of the big issues which roused me was that these women were not receiving any free time. The disclosure in my article resulted in outrage, not at the fact the maids had no day off, but to the fact I had suggested they should have a day off just like any other worker”, she said.
“From that moment on I have been sympathetic to the plight of our foreign workers. When friends running TWC2 sent me an appeal for help, I decided to do what little I could. ”
Irene is no stranger to fundraising for good causes. Using her newspaper columns and network of friends/relatives/colleagues, she is a good example of how individual efforts can bring in the few thousands that count for a lot to small charities.
Irene’s birthday is here again. Publicity-shy Irene turned down a request for a photo. So TWC2 got her a cake and took a picture. Happy birthday Irene.
P/S If you would like to use your birthday or other anniversaries to call for donations to TWC2, we would be happy to prepare material (e-invitations, e-flyers) for you to use. Please contact us at [email protected].