Food aid programme for jobless migrant workers in S’pore in jeopardy

Zakaria Abdul Wahab

A food aid programme for jobless migrant workers run by two local charity organisations in Little India, here is in jeopardy as its funds are drying up.

The Cuff Road Project is currently short of funds and it will dry up if no new donations and grants are coming in within a month, according to Transient Workers Count Too (TWC2) and ONE (SINGAPORE) today.

They said sharply rising numbers of migrant workers seeking food aid threatened the survival of the food aid programme that had already served over 100,000 meals to homeless and jobless foreign workers.

Some 450 men depend on the programme for their daily meals, and last month, the project expenditure reached an all-time high of $17,914, up nearly 80 percent on average from the first quarter of the year.

“Most of The Cuff Road Project participants have either been forced to leave their jobs due to injuries or the non-payment of wages,” said John Gee, president of TWC2.

He said many of the migrant workers were the victims of scams, and not only that, most of them went deep into debt to come to Singapore, often selling their family homes to do so.

“We aim to provide the men with meals in a safe and clean environment, where they can eat with dignity,” said Vernetta Lopez, president of ONE (SINGAPORE).

“No one in Singapore, whether local or from overseas, should have to worry about where their next meal is coming from,” she said.

TWC2 is now addressing an urgent appeal for funds to individuals and corporate bodies to ensure that the programme could continue.

The sharp rise in the project numbers might be due to higher visibility of the programme among the migrant worker community or there were more men who were out-of-work and qualified for the programme, the organisers said.

The project which is run by volunteers not only provides the men with food, but with a chance to socialise and a place to relax and talk about their problems.

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