She helps migrant workers connect to home

Lawyer Dipa Swaminathan has collected over $4,000 in donations to buy phonecards to distribute to migrant workers during Deepavali.
PHOTO: The New Paper

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.

How Deepavali 2016 was celebrated in Singapore

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. Get The New Paper for more stories.

1st Deepavali-themed train launched on NEL

  • In celebration of the occasion, LTA has collaborated with the Little India Shopkeepers and Heritage Association (LISHA) to launch the Deepavali-themed train.
  • The themed train was launched on Oct 15, 2016 by Minister for Transport, Mr Khaw Boon Wan.
  • Spot the Deepavali themed train if you can, and remember to move in for some stunning photo opportunities.
  • And did you know that both the North East Line and Downtown Line platforms at Little India Station have been decorated with the same festive theme too?
  • So here’s an idea – try catching the themed train on the NEL, alight at Little India Station, and complete the journey under the bright lights right outside along Race Course Road .
  • And that’s what we call a unique Deepavali experience right from the start to the end of your commute!