Pupils collected more than targeted for care packs for migrant workers
When the pupils at Zhenghua Primary in Bukit Panjang were told of a plan to give out care packs to migrant workers in their community, they and their families responded keenly, with contributions of snacks, masks and daily necessities exceeding the school's target.
A total of 73 migrant workers who work as cleaners in the area received the bigger-than-planned care packs as well as a handwritten note from the pupils on Friday (April 29) at a community hall near the school.
Sixty pupils from Zhenghua were at the event, where they spent time with the workers. The appreciation event was held ahead of Labour Day on May 1.
Adhya Jain, 11, who is in Primary 5, said she learnt a lot about the workers.
She added: "From now onwards, when I see them around, I'll give them a smile and chat with them a bit. They told us that simple actions like these can brighten their days."
Mr Naim, 24, who is from Bangladesh and is one of the workers at the event, said: "Them arranging this, all the gift packs... we're very thankful. Because we come from another country, we sometimes miss our family. Coming together like this with the children makes us feel really happy."
Also present at the event were 15 teachers and 15 parent volunteers from the school and representatives from the two other organisers - the Holland-Bukit Panjang Town Council and non-profit organisation HealthServe. MP for Bukit Panjang Liang Eng Hwa was the guest of honour.
Mr Michael Cheah, 46, executive director of Healthserve, which focuses on helping migrant workers, said the organisation had held a talk at the school prior to the appreciation event to share the workers' stories and experiences with the pupils.
He added: "We spoke about how every job is important, and should be respected. Having such an awareness from a young age will shape how we develop our empathy, and who we are as a Singapore society."
Madam Lin Xiaojun, 37, head of department of the school's Character and Citizenship Education and teacher-in-charge of the event, said the event helped the students to better understand and appreciate the workers.
"The students asked questions that really reflected their empathy - for example, they asked if the workers felt lonely in Singapore. While making the appreciation cards, some of the students even brought extra pieces of paper home to write cards to their helpers, who are also migrant workers."
Dora Zhong, 12, who is in Primary 6 and is a deputy head prefect of Zhenghua, said: "We must understand their sacrifices, and try our best to show them our appreciation, even as students."