Lawyer distributes freebies to spread Deepavali cheer to migrant workers
Little Vihaan Iyer, 10, joins his mother to spread Deepavali cheer to workers
Vihaan Iyer, 10, vividly recalls how his mum once stopped by the roadside to offer help to two migrant workers seeking refuge from a storm under a tree.
She gave them a ride to her home nearby, where she offered them food and dry clothes.
The plight of the workers and his mum's inspiring act left an impression on Vihaan, a pupil at United World College (UWC).
On Deepavali morning yesterday, Vihaan and his younger brother, Kairav, eight, joined his mum, corporate lawyer Dipa Swaminathan, to distribute sweets, 300 phonecards, 100 water bottles and arm sleeves to migrant workers in Little India.
It was an initiative organised by Ms Dipa, 44, who was joined by about 40 people, consisting of her friends, her children's classmates and their parents.
The freebies were given out in less than an hour to about 300 migrant workers, who formed a short queue at a field in Race Course Road.
Ms Dipa, a permanent resident who has been living in Singapore for the past 20 years, has always been passionate about migrant worker rights.
She said: "Kids here lead a fairly comfortable life, and they might not have the chance to interact with the less privileged.
"I thought this was a good chance for them to step out of their bubble and to instil the value of taking action when help is needed."
While distributing the goodies, some of the children, aged between five and 17, took the chance to chat with the migrant workers.
Briton William Lord, 10, a pupil at UWC, who has been living in Singapore for the past seven years, shook hands with the workers and asked them about their life in Singapore.
He said: "I asked them how long they have been here and what their jobs are. It feels nice (to be part of this)."
His mum Anna Lord, 43, a housewife, added: "He learnt about migration in school and is aware of the issues they face."
Vihaan and his friends, brothers Nikhil, 10, and Nihad Mukherjee, 16, are already planning next year's event.
Nihad said: "Deepavali is the biggest festival of the year for many Indians, but not everyone here enjoy the same benefits as we do. I thought this was a way of giving back."
Indian national Karuppiah Adaikkan, 28, a construction worker, said: "I was thinking of celebrating Deepavali in my dormitory later. It was good of them to come here to give us the sweets and the phonecard."