Deepavali Interfaith Outreach to Care for 20,000 Guest Workers
Over 20,000 guest workers joined AGWO Deepavali celebrations held at both the community and various Recreation Centres (RCs) after two years since the COVID-19 pandemic, and went to the temple and city tour to the Merlion Park. Minister of State for Culture, Community and Youth and Minister of State for Trade and Industry, Mr Alvin Tan, joined the guest workers in a Deepavali lunch gathering at Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple on 23 October 2022.
Guest workers in Singapore were excited to celebrate Deepavali at the temple, especially since the pandemic hit in the past few years, making this year’s festival brighter and more meaningful than ever. Understanding the need of the guest workers to observe such joyous occasions, the Alliance of Guest Workers Outreach (AGWO)—a movement of Hope Initiative Alliance (HIA)—together with Hindu Endowments Board (HEB), Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY), AGAM Theatre Lab, friends from the Moulmein-Cairnhill Racial and Religious Harmony Circle, and members of Christian, Hindu, Muslim, Taoist, and other communities, organised an outing for more than 200 guest workers on the eve of Deepavali, 23 October 2022, to enjoy a day of pre-festival prayer and lunch gathering at Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple, and a city tour to Merlion park. We were delighted to have the Minister of State for Culture, Community and Youth and Minister of State for Trade and Industry, Mr Alvin Tan, supporting us in this celebration as a Guest-of-Honour. During this special occasion, the interfaith community also interacted with Hindu guest workers at the temple, making them feel at home in Singapore.
With an aim to reach out to a total of over 20,000 guest workers this Deepavali, AGWO also collaborated with various churches in conducting Deepavali carnivals at five RCs such as Tuas, Kranji, Cochrane, Terusan, and Penjuru. Involving over 100 volunteers including junior volunteers, they baked sweets and savouries at the comfort of their home and distributed them to the guest workers this Deepavali, and organised Kabaddi (an Indian sport), cooking competition, Bollywood dance and Rangoli competitions, amazing race, and many other exciting activities from 23 to 24 October 2022, initiated by Dorm Mums—a group of female volunteers of AGWO. Not only the guest workers, HIA also celebrated Deepavali with the domestic workers through the events that had been planned out for them, organised by the Alliance of Domestic Employees Outreach (ADEO)—one of HIA’s movement.
The guest workers were also looking forward to celebrating Deepavali after two year-long of COVID-19 restrictions, making this year’s festival so significant to them as they have journeyed through the plight of pandemic, and now slowly coming out of the darkness. Realising the long-term impact of the pandemic on the guest workers, AGWO hoped that the line-up of activities helped to bring cheer and alleviate their loneliness, as they took this opportunity to rest, gather with their friends and of course, to have fun!