The Singapore Malayalee Association (SMA) proudly hosted a joyous Onam celebration for migrant domestic workers (MDW) on 24th September 2023, Sunday at the prestigious Singapore Fine Arts Society Auditorium. It was a day filled with traditional Onam festivities, games, cultural performances by MDWs, adding a heart-warming touch of tradition.
The event was graced by esteemed guests, including renowned dancer Shanta Rati as the Guest of Honour, playback singer Sangeetha Madhav as the Celebrity Guest, and the famous Malayalam cine star, Mr. Jagadeesh. Their presence added an extra layer of excitement, glamour, and star power to the proceedings, making it a truly unforgettable experience for all in attendance.
The highlight of the celebration was the sumptuous traditional Onam feast, showcasing the vibrant flavours of Kerala cuisine. Adding to the cultural richness, the event featured a mesmerising traditional Chenda Melam performance that resonated throughout the auditorium, filling the air with rhythmic beats and vibrant energy. Another enchanting element of the event was the Athapoo, a traditional floral arrangement done by the MDWs that adorned the venue, creating a visual masterpiece that celebrated the essence of Onam.
This group for MDWs, called “’Sakhi,’ which means ‘friend’ in Malayalam, was initiated just three months ago by the SMA and has been hosting monthly meet-up sessions for fellow migrant workers since then. These sessions have included activities such as karaoke, spoken English courses, and cooking classes, fostering camaraderie and skill development among the members.
Looking ahead, ‘Sakhi’ has an impressive line-up of programs designed to empower and support MDWs. These programs include CPR training, health screening, talks on mental wellness and financial literacy, Christmas and New Year celebrations, as well as stitching and painting workshops. SMA is committed to providing a platform for these workers to learn, grow, and thrive.
This alliance between the SMA and the MDWs has not only enriched the lives of the workers but has also provided invaluable support to their employers. By promoting cultural exchange, skill development, and community building, this initiative embodies the spirit of friendship and solidarity, making ‘Sakhi’ a true friend to all migrant workers and their employers.
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