No one should go hungry during Iftar (the daily breaking of fast during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan). When a friend told me in April that a group of Bengali Muslim migrant workers from Bangladesh had no money to buy food after fasting all day, I sprung into action the next day.
I ordered fast food for these workers for two days via Grab Food, spending $400 a day to feed 30 workers. As I couldn’t sustain it, I reached out to my friends for help.
Though social media and word of mouth, we raised over $50,000 in six weeks. I ordered a variety of food from caterers for the workers. Redmart on Lazada and SDI Academy offered help with the logistics and donations. Eateries like Hany’s Cookhouse and Rojakstory also sponsored meals.
I was juggling my job as an IT consultant and coordinating this after work. It was tiring but fulfilling. From a one-woman show, it grew into a team of more than 45 volunteers (30 home cooks and 15 delivery drivers) working on a weekly rotation to cook and deliver food to workers in different locations.
We managed to feed around 400 workers every day till June 8, providing Iftar meals throughout Ramadan, and lunch and dinner two weeks after Ramadan. I still can’t wrap my mind that we managed to feed 800 workers on Eid al-Fitr (the one-day celebration marking the end of Ramadan), exceeding the goal of 600 workers! I was very touched when they thanked me via text messages for the food. They said, “We’ll never forget the help you’ve given us.” Some wrote poems for the volunteers.
Although my goal was to support the migrant workers during Ramadan, I’m now focusing on a new initiative. That’s helping those who’re still not drawing a salary, with their medical expenses, rent and other bills, through donations by word of mouth.
The whole exercise has made me realise how fortunate we are, not having to worry about basic necessities. I’m glad to have met many generous people who made a difference.
This article was first published in Her World’s August issue.