Centre For Domestic Employees And The Salvation Army Celebrate International Migrants’ Day 2023

CDE continues to promote and encourage harmonious relationships between employers and migrant domestic workers together with partners.

The Centre for Domestic Employees (CDE) joins hands with The Salvation Army (TSA) to celebrate the contributions of migrant domestic workers (MDWs) in Singapore today. The collaboration is a noteworthy indication of the strong partnership between the two organisations in looking after the well-being of MDWs island wide. Over 1000 MDWs attended the CDE’s International Migrants Day 2023 celebrations today at Gardens by the Bay. The event was graced by Guest-of-Honour, Minister of State (MOS) for Manpower and Education Gan Siow Huang who took part in the celebrations and interacted with MDWs.

To bring the celebrations closer to the community, CDE has collaborated with The Salvation Army (TSA) to hold a mini carnival at Gardens by the Bay. In line with the theme, Flavours In Harmony, there will be fringe activities and food kiosks offering cuisines from that of our MDWs’ nationalities.

Various activities were conducted at the event today which saw more than 1000 MDWs and employers. With this year’s theme of “Flavours in Harmony”, one of the highlights was a sit-down picnic meal joined by MOS Gan with 20 families and their MDWs. Apart from enjoying various performances by our migrant domestic worker community, families were also engaged in fun and meaningful conversations with their domestic helpers with the help of conversation cards curated by The Salvation Army. Conversation topics spanned from getting to know the domestic helper’s hometown, to understanding her fears, dreams and hopes for the future. A light-hearted trivia quiz of both Singapore and the MDW’s home countries left both parties more familiar with each other’s cultural norms and practices. MDWs who attended the celebrations also enjoyed free admission to the Flower Dome and Cloud Forest, as part of Gardens by the Bay’s Gift of Gardens community outreach initiative.

Employers and MDWs were also invited to participate in a cookbook competition where more than 40 recipes were submitted prior to the event. The competition focused on bringing the employer and MDW together to recreate a unique recipe that they have learnt or created together. The top 10 finalists were announced today, and all recipe submissions were also compiled into a digital cookbook, launched by MOS Gan.

Several pre-event activities were conducted from September till December this year for MDWs. One of the activities was a series of cooking and baking classes that covered a wide range of fusion cuisines, representative of our local and MDWs’ cultures. About 120 employers and their MDWs participated together to learn about their cultures and bonded over the six sessions in over five weeks.

Michael Lim, Acting Director of Migrant Workers’ Segment and Executive Director of Migrant Workers Centre said, “Today’s celebrations is all about recognising the contributions of our MDWs for being there for us. Our MDWs are living in Singapore, many of whom regard as their home, away from home. We want to celebrate the unity and harmony amongst families that have embraced their MDWs into their homes and daily lives. Through this celebration, we hope to encourage more employers to take the proactive approach to get to know their MDWs better, so that employer-employee relationships can remain harmonious and respectful.

Marcus Moo, Director of Social and Community Services of The Salvation Army shared, “This celebration exemplifies the deep gratitude that Singaporean families hold for our hardworking MDWs community in supporting our daily lives and the livelihoods of their dependents back home. We acknowledge the great sacrifice for them to come to a foreign land to make ends meet while being separated from their loved ones. Their importance in our everyday lives is understated and immeasurable with their dedicated service to Singaporean families in their prime years. With time, these families embrace them as one of their own. We hope that from the event, employers are better able to appreciate the culture and take their working relationship to new heights.”

CDE will continue our work with partners such as The Salvation Army and stakeholders who have supported us over the years to co-create more meaningful initiatives for our migrant domestic workers and even platforms for employers to co-participate in. CDE will continue our efforts to engage with public as well as focus on personal wellbeing to benefit the MDW community while providing platforms to foster greater integration in Singapore.

About Centre for Domestic Employees 

In line with the Labour Movement’s all-inclusive approach, the Centre for Domestic Employees (CDE) was set up by the National Trades Union Congress to assist domestic employees, both local and foreign, in addressing work-related challenges that they may face. Launched on 24 Jan 2016, it aims to champion for the fair treatment of domestic employees in Singapore through a balanced and pragmatic manner. CDE also takes a proactive and upstream approach in providing aid, resolving issues before they manifest. For more information, visit CDE’s website at www.cde.org.sg or find CDE on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/cde.singapore.

About The Salvation Army (TSA)

The Salvation Army has been touching lives in Singapore since 1935 and we remain committed in serving the underprivileged in the community without discrimination. To us, every life is precious and we actively help those in need regardless of age, race or religion. Throughout the years, we have established a comprehensive network of social services to meet a wide range of needs in our community. Our diverse programmes reach out to vulnerable children and youth, frail elderly, struggling families, isolated migrant workers and other needy segments in our society. For more information about the work we do, please visit our website at https://www.salvationarmy.org.sg.