IMD Celebrations 2022 – JoAnn’s reflections

Planning, preparation, Zoom meetings… We all are looking forward to this, it’s going to be a big celebration!

The past 2 years have been really tough on us with this Covid-19 but it’s great to see the normalcy return. 

In that spirit, the Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics (HOME) decided to celebrate International Migrants Day (IMD), in full swing! I am excited, finally!

On 11 December 2022 at Khalsa Association, it was celebration time but at the same time, it was a little different. Why? Our dearest founder, Sister Bridget Tan who showed love, care, understanding ,who fought for us migrants, is no longer celebrating with us. Giving respect in her memory , for all the things she has done for the migrants community is the very first thing we do to start the celebration.  I know, she is with us, she loves and enjoys celebration, get together that involves the migrants community. Marina, one of the HOME volunteers from the HOME Nightingales family, read a tribute, which gave us a glimpse of Sister Bridget’s journey in and with migrants community. We miss her dearly,  may her soul rest in peace. 

Who would have thought that we all are gathered this day celebrating.

Bhing, a HOME volunteer from Helpdesk and Poobalan, an emcee, are the hosts.

Bhing shares the International Labor Organization declaration for us migrants to know our rights, that us should be  in a safe and healthy working environment. After this JoAnn (yours truly), a HOME volunteer from MyVoice read her poem themed Resilience which is just right to describe  migrants. While reading the poem, I noticed the audience were quietly listening and I told myself, I hope this shows that they like my poem. After reading and going back to my table, some approached me saying they love my poem that it really describes how our life is as migrants. That’s heart warming. 

Then the singing and dancing follow from the respective families of HOME. The members are so talented, this proves that we are not only expert in doing household chores, we have talents also that we can be proud off, that we can show off.

A dance from HOME Nightingale family grace the floor. They look so cool in their cowboy outfit.

Ayu from Kartini family surprised the audience, she walked up in the stage looking a bit shy but when she started singing, ohhh the Mariah Carrey of HOME !

Of course HOME Roses won’t skip the show, they always bring out the feel of Christmas in their performance. What a joy to hear Christmas song today and some of the audience did a train dance as well.

The song from the Shelter girls touched my heart. They sang their heart out too. These girls are having hard time, without work, without money, they are fighting for their rights but here they are rendering a beautiful song. May they get what they deserve,  a fair trial and judgment. 

We come to the highlight of the celebration.  Presentation of Certificates of Appreciation to HOME Volunteers above 8 years. Yes, I am one of them! How time flies, seems like only yesterday that I started volunteering. There’s so many to be thankful for, me, being a volunteer. My journey with HOME is noteworthy and I hope more to come.

We won’t stop here, there’s more for us to watch.

Presenting 50 Contestants in Culture Dress Showcase. These contestants choose which country , which culture or tribe they gonna represent. And guess what, I am here again flaunting a modern Filipiniana gown. Win or lose,  agh it doesn’t matter to me. I want only to show that we have a beautiful, traditional gown.

 To enjoy more of the celebration,  a table lucky draw in which the table number is to be called. The winners received cash prize.

 A dance from Suara Kita is up next, a real danceable one and the audience are shaking and waving with the tune. Of course, a community dance is a must and is lead by Nightingale HOME family. All are required to stand on their feet. The star dancers first showed step by step in counting before playing the music. It’s a real fun!

A caroling from HOME Academy is always present. Christmas spirit is in the air. The audience sing and dance along with the beat of the song. 

Lots of prizes, goodie bags, give aways are distributed to the migrants and to everyone who came and celebrate with us. A big thank you to our sponsors. 

Sister Sisi Sukiato, HOME Academy Director gives her thank you speech to one and all. And she introduced also the Photography club of HOME in collaboration with Holdinghands studio founded by Brother Chin Hock. We encourage fellow migrants who are enthusiast in taking photos to join our club. We have monthly photo contest with different theme and the winners receive a digital certificate and a gift sponsored by HOME. At the moment, we are having the Limited Edition project in which the trainers give us the places of interests in Singapore where we can take photos. Members can submit 5 of their best photos and the best 1 will be selected and is going to be printed in the coasters. It is  Coasters with a Cause. Will my photo be selected? Let’s wait and see. Not to forget, HOME photography club is turning 1 year on the 26th of December and we have 110 members already ! We are growing!

In between of the celebration program, there’s singing and dancing and everybody joined in. The migrant brothers showed their moves as well led by Poobalan. Swaying, waving, clapping, jumping on their feet! Ohhh what a wonderful International Migrants Day it is !

A toast for HOME, may it prosper more and continue to be the shelter of every migrants in need of help and assistance. Long live!

Time for the HOME staffs to show what they got in singing and dancing. They all are in the stage having their time but we migrants won’t miss this chance joining them. So up we go in front, some stayed where they are and did our moves and sang with them. This looks like a variety show already and all of us are enjoying, we all are in the mood !

Thank you HOME. Thank you in looking after us migrants. 


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