With a new initiative by NUS Residential College 4 (RC4) interest group RC4lunteers, students will have increased chances to interact with migrant workers through meal-sharing. Called Tap4You, the initiative will see participating RC4 residents “tap out” a meal credit from their account for the migrant workers to eat at the College’s Dining Hall.
“Tap4You began when an RC4 alumnus suggested collaborating with Labour Arty, a registered non-profit entity that is devoted to bridging communities and cultures, to bring the migrant worker community into RC4, and have residents share their unused dining hall credits with them”, said Year 3 NUS Arts and Social Sciences students Tan Ai and Madeline Tan, Project Directors of Tap4You.
Seeing that the migrant worker community in Singapore is a largely unrecognised part of the societal system, they hoped to “create opportunities for RC4 residents to learn more about this community, in a way that benefits the workers and our residents as well”.
“That is, for it not to be a one-sided activity, but of something reciprocal,” explained Tan Ai.
One of the project’s main aims is to pique the interest of residents in the migrant worker community and the relevant issues they face. To make the experience more attractive and to increase the value-add of the project, they also incorporated learning opportunities, such as talks and film screenings.
The project was launched on 30 January with the first meal-sharing between migrant workers from KSH Pte Ltd and resident student volunteers.
Year 2 NUS Engineering student Marisa Lim said she participated in the event hoping to get to know the migrant workers more personally beyond their work and career, in areas including family, hobbies or home country. “I did get to know them more personally by the end of the dinner, and I was glad they were open to sharing about themselves,” she said, adding that she hopes to learn more about their hometowns and spend more time in different activities with the migrant workers.
Looking forward, the organisers hope to work with Labour Arty and social enterprise MigrantxMe to buff up the project and expand both its width and depth. They will be increasing the range of activities offered, including cultural exchange and site visits to the dormitories.
“We also wish to work towards engaging the residents and migrant workers in group leisure activities together, such as sports, to reach out to more residents and workers and better engage exchange students to give them a real and on-the-ground experience of Singapore that they would not get from visiting the typical tourist locations,” said Tan Ai.
“Lastly, we hope that we may allow RC4 residents, who are trained to be system thinkers, a chance to critically and intellectually engage in migrant worker issues. In that way, we support those who have the interest to gain holistic understanding of the lives of migrant workers in Singapore.”