Companions on a (learning) journey

“I recall the ‘Parable of the Talents’ in the Bible passage (Matthew 25:14-30), so I try to invest the little talent I have, to share the glory of the kingdom of God with these workers,” said Vincent Chia, a volunteer from Church of Divine Mercy Photography Ministry. He joined three passionate JRS volunteers to conduct workshops on Handphone Photography, Art and an Introduction to Computer Literacy for migrant workers at Cochrane Recreation Centre.

During his first hour and a half long photography workshop, Vincent demonstrated how one need not own an expensive camera to take good photos; a smartphone could also produce great shots. The participants’ joy from experimenting with various shots of each other was palpable and they were inspired to create their own artistic photos.

One of the participants shared that he took photographs to preserve good memories. The nods of agreement across the group affirmed the desire to learn the best way to immortalise precious moments by taking the most aesthetically-pleasing photos.

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Putting theory into action.

At the adjacent canteen space, participants were concentrating on their drawing workshop. JRS volunteer and artist Amanda showed how pencil shading could elevate basic drawings into beautiful works of art. There was a peaceful atmosphere as participants followed the therapeutic motions of shading while chatting with their friends. By the end of the session, the attendees all seemed satisfied with what they had accomplished. Indeed, the artworks that they created were beautiful.

An IT workshop put together by Andros and Mary after the photography workshop taught participants some basic computer skills. With a laptop shared amongst 3 participants, there was hands-on learning on Microsoft Excel and Word – programmes which have the potential to be very useful in our everyday lives. Participants practised writing messages and inserting shapes using MS word, and tracking financial expenses on Excel.

Proud of their works of art.
Overwhelming response for the IT workshop.

These workshops are part of the skills upgrading and enhancement programme, launched on the 25th September in conjunction with World Day of Migrants and Refugees. They were organized by JRS volunteers following feedback from an earlier survey with the migrant workers. The workshops garnered a great deal of attention with an unanticipated number of people stopping by to participate after having observed from afar.

Mary, who heads the migrant outreach programme was impressed by the participants’ openness to different forms of skills enhancement, and the hunger they exhibited towards learning and improving themselves. She reflected, “Many sat through 3 hours of training, with just a 15 min break in between as they attended the Photography workshop, followed immediately by the Computer Literacy Workshop. Others started with the Art workshop and went on to attend the Computer Literacy workshop. At the end of a long and tiring day, they were still enthusiastically asking to sign up for the next round of workshops, not wanting to miss out on further learning opportunities.”

JRS plans to continue with a series of photography, art and computer workshops monthly till the end of the year. The team hopes to conduct conversational English, air con maintenance and fire safety workshops next year and seeks volunteers who are able to facilitate workshops or assist during the sessions. Please drop us an email at