She helps migrant workers connect to home

Many of these workers have to rely on an old-fashioned phone call to reach their families because there might not be Wi-Fi back at home. (The phonecard) is a luxury that will put a smile on their faces. - Ms Dipa Swaminathan, founder of itsrainingraincoats, an initiative to help foreign workers by distributing raincoats and other items such as clothing and food

Deepavali is a time of celebration for families, but many Hindu migrant workers here are away from their homes today.

Lawyer Dipa Swaminathan, 44, a permanent resident who has been living here for the past 20 years, decided to bring them closer to their loved ones.

With about 35 people, she will be giving out more than 600 phonecards to foreign workers at Little India today. These prepaid cards have a value of $10, or 200 minutes' worth of talk-time.

Ms Swaminathan is the founder of the itsrainingraincoats, an initiative to help foreign workers by distributing raincoats and other items such as clothing and food.

Last month, on the itsrainingraincoats Facebook page, she posted an appeal, asking people to donate phonecards.

SECOND YEAR

Over the past month, she managed to raise more than $6,000.

Ms Swaminathan said: "Many of these workers have to rely on an old-fashioned phone call to reach their families because there might not be Wi-Fi back at home.

"(The phonecard) is a luxury that will put a smile on their faces."

This is the second year that Ms Swaminathan is organising this initiative on Deepavali.

Last year, she organised a group of about 40 people, including children, to give out sweets, phonecards, water bottles and arm sleeves to migrant workers in Little India.

Then, Ms Swaminathan raised $1,500 from friends and contributed $640 of her own money to buy the phonecards.

She has been very touched by the response by members of the public this year.

She said: "Some of them wrote to me and said they wanted to give the phonecards to thank those who have contributed so much to Singapore."


This article was first published on Oct 29, 2016.
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