As a result of the COVID-19 situation, guest workers in our nation have become especially vulnerable – being financially affected and faced with worries about their job and future.
In response to this urgent need, the Alliance of Guest Workers Outreach (AGWO) – a movement of Hope Initiative Alliance – launched the Care Meals Distribution Project on Good Friday, 10 April 2020. Through this project, 9,218 Care Meals were distributed to guest workers at 113 factory-converted dormitories (FCDs).
Due to the overwhelming response to care for the guest workers amid the COVID-19 situation, this project – which was initially organised as a one-day exercise – eventually evolved into a continuous effort during the entire circuit breaker period, and was extended until the end of June.
Through the AGWO – a coalition of over 130 partnering charities and organisations – we have been working to meet the needs of vulnerable guest workers by providing them with daily Care Meals for lunch and dinner. Over the course of the circuit breaker period, we distributed more than half a million Care Meals across 267 FCDs and 9 Zones/Collection Points (as of time of writing).
We are thankful to have worked with the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and the Migrant Workers’ Centre (MWC), who engaged us to supply food and essentials to the guest workers. Thus, we were able to gain access to these FCDs, while ensuring our distribution efforts were safe. We are also grateful to have been granted the necessary permits to conduct these various efforts with volunteers at our designated locations.
The High Commission of Sri Lanka also engaged us to supply daily Care Meals for the stranded low-wage Sri Lankan guest workers in Singapore. We are also grateful for the many dry food and other in-kind donations we received, in support of the initiative and our fundraising efforts.
- Ministry of Manpower
- Migrant Workers’ Centre
- High Commission of Sri Lanka
10 April 2020 Appeal: Additional Care Packs and Resources for Guest Workers
We are very heartened to report to you that we have received a very positive response on the “Good Friday Care Meals for Guest Workers” initiative over the past two days. Because of your generous giving, we will be able to distribute—the first batch of Care Meals—7,000 packets of food to dormitories starting Good Friday, 10 April (as reported on TodayOnline, dated 9 April).
As there remains much more to be done, HIA has decided to continue its efforts to provide these guest workers with Care Meals and other essential necessities for an extended period of time—as much as we can help—during the “circuit breaker” period.
In recent reports, the government has committed to administering the necessary assistance to guest workers who have been quarantined. Yet, hundreds of thousands of affected guest workers have surpassed those who were housed in dormitories with confirmed cases of COVID-19. Many of them have been financially affected and worried about their job prospects, as well to their health situation in congested dormitories.
After liaising with the Alliance of Guest Workers Outreach’s network of contacts who are working on the ground, we have understood the gravity of the situation. We have been working with the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), Migrant Workers Centre (MWC) and dormitory operators to ensure that the distribution efforts will be in accordance to safe distancing measures and ensure no individuals are placed at risk.
We are also partnering with SATA CommHealth to avail medical assistance, as well as with the Inter-Religious Organisation, Singapore (IRO) and Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) to provide the guest workers with counselling and emotional support.
The essential supplies that we will be distributing—in addition to Care Meals—include food items, basic medication, and other necessities to ensure basic hygiene upkeep within dormitories, such as masks, hand sanitisers, and soaps.
We earnestly appeal to you to continue in your generous efforts to care for the guest workers amongst us. With your contribution, we can make sure that no guest worker shall starve during this challenging period, and that they will receive the essential supplies they need to keep them safe amidst the Covid-19 situation.
We continually urge you to join us in ensuring these individuals in need will receive the necessary assistance. As a vulnerable community who have been separated from their families amidst this trying period, these workers are in need of urgent care, and your partnership will go a long way in meeting their needs. Once again, we thank you for your support and committed efforts to sow good into the lives of the vulnerable.
6 April 2020 Appeal: Good Friday Care Meals for Guest Workers
Over the past days, guest workers have formed the large majority of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Singapore. Having lived in densely packed rooms, 20,000 guest workers from the affected dormitories have been placed under quarantine.
There are around 80,000 to 100,000 guest workers housed in factory-converted dormitories (FCD). On average, there are 10 to 1,000 housed in one FCD alone—who remain especially vulnerable amidst the COVID-19 situation. With stricter regulations, some of them couldn’t even leave their premises to obtain food and/or essential supplies to cook.
In order to meet their urgent needs and assist the government in aiding this vulnerable community, The Alliance of Guest Workers (AGWO) launched the Good Friday Care Meals for Guest Workers #SowingGoodAmidstAdversity alongside other partnering charities. This initiative followed the SG United Amidst Adversity #CharitiesCaringTogether initiative, which distributed more than 5,000 care packs—comprising surgical masks, hand sanitisers and food items—to at least 5,000 beneficiaries through 50 charities.
Under Good Friday Care Meals for Guest Workers campaign—which was formed with the aim of demonstrating collective warmth as a nation amidst a challenging period—we sought to feed 20,000 to 30,000 guest workers. Each meal—comprised of rice, gravy and a side of vegetables—cost $2 and were delivered to guest workers in selected dormitories or FCDs, on Good Friday.
As part of this campaign, we also distributed Care Packs to the guest workers. These Care Packs consisted of necessities–such as hand sanitisers, surgical masks and food supplies—that they were unable to obtain due to lack of financial resources amidst the COVID-19 situation.