Widely celebrated festive seasons, such as Christmas, are especially meaningful because they bring families and loved ones together over shared meals and traditions. However, these occasions can often exacerbate feelings of loneliness among vulnerable communities in society, who may not be able to celebrate with their families. These feelings may also be especially pronounced among guest workers, such as construction workers and Foreign Domestic Workers (FDWs) in Singapore, who frequently experience homesickness from being separated from their families.
In an effort to alleviate the emotional struggles of the guest worker community, Hope Initiative Alliance (HIA) teamed up with partners such as SowCare – the charity arm of the Bible Society of Singapore – to share the joy and cause for the Christmas season with guest workers through Feasts of Appreciation (FoA), which were themed Christmas with the Nations.
On 15 December 2019, 300 Foreign Domestic Workers (FDWs) were invited to attend a FoA at Bible House. This was one of the 24 FoAs launched nationwide in October 2020. The event for FDWs featured performances by various ethnic groups and a mini-bazaar, including photobooth and manicure stations. Each of the FDWs also left with a goodie bag that had been kindly sponsored by SowCare and the Singapore Kindness Movement (SKM).
Reiterating the importance of being cognisant of the sacrifices many of these FDWs have made for our society, Rev Ezekiel Tan, President of HIA, addressed them at the event. “While guest workers serve in public industrial sectors, your contributions as FDWs are close to home and to the heart. Your role as a caretaker in our homes is a very personal one, and this feast is our way of wholeheartedly thanking you for the sacrifices you have made and continue to make every day.”
Sharing his vision and ethos behind the FoA movement, Rev Samuel Gift Stephen, Chairman of the AGWO, reminded the staff and volunteers present at the events that, “In a country where food is such an important part of our culture, sharing a meal with these guest workers goes a long way in showing them our hospitality and appreciation for the part they play in our society.”