Dormitory provides yoga classes and trips for workers
17 winners at this year's Dormitory Awards honoured for going extra mile for residents
Foreigner Miah Mohammad Ripon works in a factory and lives in a dormitory.
He ends his shift around 9pm, and when he returns to his dorm late at night, he worries that he may disturb his roommates. There were 15 others in his room at a Woodlands Avenue 8 dorm.
The 26-year-old from Bangladesh said: "There is a high chance that I would wake someone up. Everyone is tired and sleep is important."
He moved out of his old residence and into Westlite Dormitory (Woodlands) at Woodlands Sector 2 six days ago.
Mr Ripon, who has been working in Singapore for four years, now shares a room with only three other workers.
His unit has three bedrooms, a kitchen, a living room, two showers and two toilets, shared among 11 others.
The Westlite Dormitory (Woodlands) is one of the 17 winners in the second annual Dormitory Awards.
This year, the awards were expanded to include purpose-built dormitories. Previously, they were open only to factory-converted dormitories.
Other winners include Acacia Lodge, Hai Leck dormitory and Changi Lodge 2.
The awards, with a ceremony held yesterday at Suntec City Convention Centre, recognise foreign worker dormitories that have gone the extra mile to ensure the well-being of their residents.
Minister of State for Manpower and National Development Zaqy Mohamad, who was the guest of honour, said: "A progressive dormitory operator goes beyond providing facilities, and also looks into the social and emotional needs of foreign workers."
The purpose-built Westlite Dormitory (Woodlands) started operations in 2015 and can house up to 4,100 workers.
It has weekly yoga classes, which are popular with the workers.
Indian national V. Sudhakar, 45, has been attending yoga classes for two hours every Saturday for the past year.
He said: "Here, we do hard work. Having yoga each week helps me to relax after a long week of work."
The dormitory also has amenities such as a mini-mart, a games room, outdoor courts for street soccer, basketball and sepak takraw as well as a classroom where workers can attend talks and English lessons.
The dormitory organises trips to Malaysia every year, and excursions to places such as Universal Studios Singapore once in two months.
These trips are heavily subsidised by the company.
Mr Bakurdeen A. Majid, group dormitory manager of Westlite Dormitory (Woodlands), said: "We don't believe in just providing a roof over their heads. We want to provide as much amenities for them, and try to find out what they want in their accommodations."
App to help dorm residents report issues
Foreign workers can now alert the authorities to dormitory conditions with a mobile application.
The app, DormWatch, was launched yesterday at the second annual Dormitory Awards by Mr Zaqy Mohamad, Minister of State for Manpower and National Development.
The app aims to encourage operators to communicate with residents, and to work with them to improve living conditions at dormitories.
To highlight an issue, foreign workers enter the location of the dormitory and provide a short description of the issue.
They can then upload photos and videos before submitting the feedback.
Once the dormitory operators receive the feedback, they can use the app to gather more information by messaging the residents.
Operators can also use the app to give details of how the issue was resolved.
Foreign workers can accept or reject the resolution provided by the operators.
The Ministry of Manpower will be able to track the status of the feedback, and will be alerted if the matter remains unresolved.
The application can be downloaded for free from the App Store or Google Play.
The app is in English and Chinese, with Bengali and Tamil to be added at a later date.
- ADELINE TAN