Filipina helps foreign workers integrate

Filipina helps foreign workers integrate
Miss Josette Cahinosayan (right), a systems engineer who has lived in Singapore for the past five years, with another volunteer at the Westlite dormitory in Mandai where she conducts Happy Happy English (HHE) which was started in January 2014 to give foreign workers confidence in speaking functional English and to make them feel welcome in Singapore.
PHOTO: Miss Josette Cahinosayan

She teaches foreign workers English at the Westlite Dormitory in Mandai every other Sunday.

It is a 30-minute journey each direction, but Miss Josette Cahinosayan, 31, said: "It's worth it."

Happy Happy English (HHE), which started in January last year, aims to give foreign workers confidence in speaking functional English and to make them feel welcome in Singapore.

Under HHE, Miss Cahinosayan, who has lived in Singapore for the past five years, helps migrant workers integrate and learn about Singapore.

The systems engineer said: "Just last month, as part of SG50, we gave them some insight into Singapore history.

"Also, as part of awareness, we taught them simple etiquette, like keeping left when on the road or when walking on the pavement.

"They are earning a living, just like you and me. The only difference is they come from a different culture and we need to make the effort to understand their culture so we can connect with them.

"They sacrifice so much for their families back home and all they are trying to do is what you and I would do if we faced the same struggles." KEEN

Miss Cahinosayan said the migrant workers are "extremely appreciative of the lessons and always very keen to learn more".

"As part of the lessons, we just try and teach them how to communicate better, like asking people for directions or speaking to their supervisors," she said.

"But even if it's just that, it's nice to see how much it means to them.

"They get so excited that some of them even teach their children over the phone the things they have learnt.

"Nothing beats the satisfaction I get as a volunteer when I see the joy in their eyes."


This article was first published on September 25, 2015.
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