A group of Singapore Catholics visited disadvantaged Myanmar migrants in Phuket, Thailand, conducting classes for the children and organising a sports day for them.
According to the 12-member group, they wanted to spread Christmas joy while empowering the children with the knowledge that there are people who love and care for them.
The group, which included Good Shepherd Sr Agnes-Clare Koh, comprised members of the Church of St Bernadette Chinese Youth Group and the Church of St Francis of Assisi young adults’ group who organised the outreach, as well as friends from the Immaculate Heart of Mary and Risen Christ parishes.
During the Dec 16-19 trip, the volunteers visited the Learning Centre run by the Good Shepherd Sisters, which caters to the education of Myanmar migrant children from age three to 14.
These children are unable to enrol in a local school as they lack legal documents to stay in Thailand or proficiency in the Thai language.
The Good Shepherd nuns have been working with marginalised Myanmar migrants who are seeking employment in Phuket.
During their mission outreach, the Singapore group visited the homes of these migrants, located near construction sites, and fishing villages where they earn their living.
The group also held classes for the children, and taught them to sing, draw and create origami art work.
In addition, the Singaporeans organised a sports day and put on a Nativity skit for the migrants at a Christmas party organised by the centre’s staff.
“The children were overjoyed and touched by our presence,” said Ms Serene Tan, a member of the Singapore group.
One girl offered her ice cream to the volunteers and another girl mimicked the actions of characters from the Nativity skit, said Ms Tan. The children also hugged and kissed the volunteers farewell on the last day of the trip.
The trip was a “humbling experience”, said Ms Tan, adding that she saw how “God used me and my team members as His instruments to produce much fruit – fruits of love, kindness, compassion and patience”.
Another volunteer, Ms Lillian Law, said the trip helped her to realise “that every moment in my life … is truly a gift that I should be more thankful for.”
By Darren Boon