Stories Of Impact
Helping migrant workers with a home and a heart
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Stories Of Impact

Stories Of Impact

Helping migrant workers with a home and a heart

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Happy group of individuals posing with a 'home' sign.

When Li Meimei*, a single mother of two young children from Chongqing, China came to Singapore last year, she had hoped to be able to work to pay off the loan of RMB 200,000 (SGD 40,000) which she had taken out in her home country.

However, she got far more than she had bargained for when she started working for a beauty and massage parlour in Singapore. Not only did Li have to pay kickback to her employer, she was also coerced to perform illicit acts for customers. When Li refused, she was punished with menial labour such as cleaning and clearing out rubbish.

While working, Li suffered a fall and fractured her tailbone. Her employer was unsympathetic, and after discovering that Li would take a long time to recover, cancelled her work permit and attempted to repatriate her without compensation of salary or returning her kickback.

Eventually, Li managed to seek reprieve when she approached the Humanitarian Organization for Migration Economics (HOME). HOME is supported by the Migrants Emergency Assistance and Support (MEANS), a Community Impact Fund (CIF) managed by the Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS). HOME provided Li with shelter, food and a transport allowance, even paying for her medical bills which allowed her to continue treatment for her injury.

Singapore is host to more than a million low-skilled and semi-skilled migrant workers from countries in the region, and many of these workers experience similar situations faced by Li Meimei. Unpaid salaries, overwork, physical and psychological abuse are the problems that some of these men and women have to endure during their employment in Singapore. A significant number of migrant workers are also victims of forced labour and human trafficking.

Through CFS’s casework team, HOME was able to assist 1,400 marginalised migrant workers in 2019. Out of that number, 409 workers were provided with financial assistance to pay for temporary accommodation, seek medical care and buy food. CFS disbursed a grant of over $47,500 in June 2019 using donations via Giving.sg. Such financial assistance is also extended to support male migrant workers who are evicted from their dormitories, or for migrant workers to purchase flight tickets and bus rides to reach their home countries safely.

HOME received IPC charity status in 2004, and continues to be one of the few organisations in Singapore that provides support to migrant workers and is dedicated to upholding their rights. Their efforts are primarily directed towards the welfare and empowerment of migrant workers, which are focused on but not limited to shelter, transport, crisis support, skills development, counselling and medical needs.

*not her real name

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The competition was organised by City Harvest Community Services Association and received support from FUN! Fund, a Community Impact Fund jointly established by the Community Foundation of Singapore and the Agency for Integrated Care, with the aim of addressing social isolation among the elderly.

Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Communications and Information & Ministry of National Development Mr Tan Kiat How attended the event. He encouraged the elderly to stay physically and mentally well, as well as urging them to participate in community activities and enjoy their golden years together.

Learn more about FUN! Fund at https://www.cf.org.sg/fun-fund/.

 

The programme provides the children with a non-threatening platform to connect with peers and have positive conversations. In addition, it exposes them to different people who can assist to broaden their perspectives.

L.S., a volunteer with the Reading Odyssey programme @ Spooner Road

中心“常胜将军”胡锦盛:比赛限时反应要快

现年92岁的胡锦盛是最年长的参赛者。自2017年退休后,他几乎每天都到活跃乐龄中心报到,从此爱上了玩拉密,每次可玩上三个小时,在中心是“常胜将军”。

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The Asian Parent: Is your bub safe with infant educarers? This carer tells all!

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“Well, all that hard work did not go unnoticed, for Madam Intan was awarded the Leading Foundation Teacher Award (LFTA) last year. For the uninitiated, the Leading Foundation Teacher Award is an initiative by the Leading Foundationwhich supports programmes in education and leadership. It is administered by the Community Foundation of Singapore, a non-profit philanthropic organisation that bridges donors with community needs.

The LFTA recognises passionate and dedicated teachers who have made significant contributions to the care and teaching of children in the fields of early childhood and special needs education.

Madam Intan confides, “I never thought that I would receive a National award and I feel honoured, glad and thankful to those who believed in me and affirmed my role as an infant educator.” Read more.

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Stories Of Impact

The REDAS Solidarity Project Fund: Caring for migrant workers affected by COVID-19

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Group of individuals in front of warehouse with boxes.

Among the vulnerable communities in Singapore impacted by COVID-19, it is the community of migrant workers who have toiled invisibly to help build our nation that has been very heavily affected. Infection amongst their community has been widespread, and a large number of them are confined to their dormitories, unable to leave.

It is thus very encouraging that the Singapore government and many other organisations have stepped up to give assistance and support to them in their isolation.

To help ease their plight, the Real Estate Developers Association of Singapore (REDAS) announced on 30th April the launch of the REDAS Solidarity Project Fund. Its aim is to provide aid and relief to the segments of the community most affected by COVID-19, particularly in the built environment sector where many migrant workers are employed.

So far, more than 50 REDAS members have contributed $760,000 to the Fund, which was also launched to show appreciation for Singapore’s healthcare workers.

Through collaboration with the Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS) and other partners such as the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), REDAS was able to promptly roll out the initiative to demonstrate our community’s stand for Singapore’s migrant workers.

“Our migrant workers are the cornerstone of society and it is important to recognise their valuable contributions,’’ says Deputy CEO of CFS Joyce Teo. “CFS fully supports such efforts to ensure that they receive the best possible assistance during their time of need. ’’

To mark the start of their giving, REDAS distributed 200,000 care packs to as many workers in factory-converted dormitories through the Migrant Workers’ Centre (MWC). These care packs will include toiletries such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, a shaver and a bar of soap. In addition, 800 standing fans will also be donated to dormitories to help improve ventilation for the workers.

“Given the large number of migrant workers under quarantine in dormitories, there is great urgency for us to meet their essential needs amid the COVID-19 pandemic,” says REDAS President Mr Chia Ngiang Hong. “We hope this collective effort to spread a little kindness to the migrant workers will provide the much needed emotional support to help them ride out this difficult period.”

The May Day Gift event to distribute the care packs was graced by National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) Secretary-General Mr Ng Chee Meng, and joined by URA Chief Executive Lim Mr Eng Hwee, REDAS President Mr Chia Ngiang Hong and MWC Chairman Mr Yeo Guat Kwang.

“We are very happy to have REDAS partner with us to support our migrant workers in the factory-converted dormitories,’ says MWC Chairman Yeo Guat Kwang. “We are really very thankful to everyone for giving a helping hand to our migrant workers in this challenging time.”

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The competition was organised by City Harvest Community Services Association and received support from FUN! Fund, a Community Impact Fund jointly established by the Community Foundation of Singapore and the Agency for Integrated Care, with the aim of addressing social isolation among the elderly.

Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Communications and Information & Ministry of National Development Mr Tan Kiat How attended the event. He encouraged the elderly to stay physically and mentally well, as well as urging them to participate in community activities and enjoy their golden years together.

Learn more about FUN! Fund at https://www.cf.org.sg/fun-fund/.

 

The programme provides the children with a non-threatening platform to connect with peers and have positive conversations. In addition, it exposes them to different people who can assist to broaden their perspectives.

L.S., a volunteer with the Reading Odyssey programme @ Spooner Road

中心“常胜将军”胡锦盛:比赛限时反应要快

现年92岁的胡锦盛是最年长的参赛者。自2017年退休后,他几乎每天都到活跃乐龄中心报到,从此爱上了玩拉密,每次可玩上三个小时,在中心是“常胜将军”。

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Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry's standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book.

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Indonesia’s Karim Family Foundation raises S$200,000 to support badminton world champion Loh Kean Yew

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picture of loh kean yew holding his medal

An Indonesian tycoon’s family foundation, the Karim Family Foundation, has raised S$200,000 to support badminton player Loh Kean Yew, the first Singaporean to win the Badminton World Federation World Championships.  

The Karim Family Foundation – set up by the family of Indonesian tycoon Bachtiar Karim and his wife Dewi Sukwanto – wanted to congratulate Loh for his win at the championships in December 2021, according to Zaobao. 

Previously, a crowdfunding initiative Ray of Hope as well as donations from 5 business leaders in Singapore also raised over S$158,000 for the badminton player. 

Bachtiar Karim is the executive chairman of Singapore-headquartered oil conglomerate Musim Mas. In 2021, the Karim family had a net worth of around US$3.5 billion, making it the 10th richest in Indonesia, according to Forbes. 

Cindy Karim, principal at the Karim Family Foundation, said the family was “inspired” by Loh’s perseverance and humility “even after such an amazing feat”. 

Noting that the foundation has had a focus on sports development, art and culture, mental health and education, she added: “We hope to inspire future Loh Kean Yews in Singapore.” 

The donation is being made through a donor-advised fund with The Community Foundation of Singapore. 

If you too, would like to support a cause of your choice, please click here. 

This article was originally published in Business Times here. Source: Business Times © SPH Media Limited. Permission required for reproduction.  

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Budget 2023: Govt to extend 250% tax deduction for donations until 2026

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Singapore will extend its tax deduction rate for donations for another three years until the end of 2026, as part of efforts to foster and sustain a spirit of giving.

Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Lawrence Wong said on Tuesday that this will be done although the tax deduction for donations at 250 per cent is 
already very high compared with other jurisdictions.

The Government will review thereafter what would be a more sustainable level of tax deduction for the longer term, he said.

He added that Singaporeans have donated generously. Despite the economic downturn due to Covid-19, the donations received through Giving.sg were about three
times higher than pre-pandemic levels, and have remained around $100 million in the last three years.

Giving.sg is a one-stop national giving platform by the National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre, which hosts more than 600 registered non-profit groups in
Singapore.

Another way to continue to foster the spirit of giving that Mr Wong highlighted is through tax-deductible donations to Institutions of a Public Character (IPCs) and
eligible institutions.

The Government will also enhance the existing Business and IPC Partnership Scheme into a broader Corporate Volunteer Scheme, which will be extended for three
more years to Dec 31, 2026.

From January 1, 2024, the scope of qualifying volunteering activities will be expanded to include activities which are conducted virtually or outside of the IPCs’
premises.

The Government will also double the qualifying per-IPC cap to $100,000 per calendar year, to facilitate deeper partnerships between businesses and IPCs, he said.

It will also continue to strengthen the capabilities and support the services of charities, social service agencies (SSAs) and community organisations.

“(They) play critical roles in looking after the vulnerable, and mobilising Singaporeans to support those who are in greater need,” said Mr Wong.

Also announced was a $1 billion top-up of the Community Silver Trust, which provides dollar-for-dollar donation matching grants for SSAs that provide community care services for seniors.

This will enable the SSAs to enhance the quality and accessibility of community care, especially for the more vulnerable seniors, he said.

Charities and SSAs can also continue to tap the Charities Capability Fund (CCF) and the Community Capability Trust (CCT) to drive innovation and transform their
operations.

The CCF aims to enhance productivity, operational efficiency, governance and management capabilities of charities and IPCs. The CCT is a platform to support
capability and capacity-building schemes and initiatives for the social service sector.

The Government will also top up $10 million towards self-help groups over the next three years.

Said Mr Wong: “They are doing good work on the ground, and are well placed to provide assistance to members of their respective communities who need help.”

He also cited the example of Ms Emily Yap, a registered nurse at Alexandra Hospital, as someone who still volunteered on her days off for the wider community
despite her heavy workload during the pandemic.

Ms Yap started a ground-up initiative with other like-minded people to deliver grocery packs to the elderly and lower-income families in the community.

She also used her own Community Development Council vouchers to buy kueh bangkit (coconut cookies) for vulnerable families during the Chinese New Year period.

“This is what the Singapore spirit is about,” said Mr Wong.

“We have seen it in action, and experienced it in abundance over the last three years – how we are responsible for one another, keep an eye out for our fellow citizens, and always band together as a team.”

This article was originally published in The Straits Times here. Source: The Straits Times © SPH Media Limited. Permission required for reproduction.

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