Teens pitch in for migrants

Following a successful pilot collaboration in September 2021, JRS volunteers were invited back to Cochrane Recreation Centre (CRC) for more events. This time, it was to celebrate Deepavali and International Migrants Day with games and activities for migrant workers in November and December.

Chopstick Challenge, Chapteh (a game of shuttlecocks), Football Penalty Kicks and Tumbling Cans are just some of the gems in JRS Volunteers’ treasure trove of games. Football Penalty Kick is proven a hit with the migrant workers as they made a bee line to the soccer net each time, eagerly awaiting their chance to score a goal and win prizes. On these occasions, JRS volunteers and their families were accompanied by enthusiastic youths from the Church of St Ignatius, who pitched in to man the games booths and more.

Meanwhile, behind the scenes, many teens and their teachers laboured to raise funds and assemble prizes and care packs for the events. Students from St Nicholas Girls’ School contributed gift bags of towels, toothpaste, masks and sanitisers, which were distributed to participants at the Deepavali celebration.

Many of the prizes for the International Migrants Day event were generously sponsored by the youth and catechists of the Church of the Holy Cross through the Project G.O.D. (Gift of One Dollar), a fundraising initiative organised by the parish’s newly-confirmed youth each year. To raise funds for JRS Singapore’s migrant outreach programme, the teens launched a bake sale and organised a carnival where they competed with parishioners over games. Over four Saturdays of Advent, the teens put together an online Advent Charity Show and appealed for donations from parishioners.

Video courtesy of Catechists and youth, Church of the Holy Cross

The Holy Cross teens’ efforts paid off when they collected more than S$20,000, which they donated to JRS Singapore. A portion of the funds was used to sponsor briyani set meals, bananas and gift packs of essential items, which the youth packed with a handwritten note for each participant.

16-year-old Keagan Alexander, a Holy Cross youth who was involved in fundraising and baking for the first time shared, “After this project, I have become more aware of the plight of the migrant workers around us, and will try to show greater consideration, understanding, and respect towards them.”

“We did everything in the name of God, and we hope we have brought glory to God’s name,” quipped fellow teen confirmand, Olivia Chin, feeling thankful for the opportunity to chip in for a good cause.

With the involvement and support from the various youth, and also sponsors such as The Cocoa Trees, JRS Singapore was able to reach out to some 2,500 migrant workers who participated at both events. Tricia Kat, Deputy Chairperson of the migrant outreach programme shared, “Although running the two events was physically tiring, it was joyful for me to see the smiles on the migrant workers, the bonding amongst our JRS volunteers who got their families involved, our youth volunteers who energised us, and our collaborators from CHIJ St Nicholas Girls’ School and Church of the Holy Cross. It was all worth it!”

Mary Lee, Chairperson of JRS’s migrant worker programme, said “We really appreciate the donation from the Church of the Holy Cross, which will help us fund plans for more regular engagement activities with the migrant worker community. In the year ahead, we hope to introduce programmes to develop different skills, such as English communication and art, as well as other enjoyable and interactive learning experiences for our migrant workers.”