Dance series to aid migrant workers

Her goal was to provide three meals a day to 500 migrant workers who are isolated following the spread of the coronavirus in Singapore.

Kathak dancer Sunena Gupta achieved her target of collecting $5,000 in donations from the public after a single performance last Sunday.

"The workers cannot leave their dormitories because of the strict circuit breaker measures, so I thought I will do a live dance series called Shukran (Heartfelt Gratitude) on YouTube featuring some of Singapore's most respected Indian classical artistes to raise funds for their food," said the 22-year-old.

"It was to be held over five Sundays with different themes in May and I expected to collect $5,000 in donations at the end of it. But I was pleasantly surprised that I received that amount after the first live performance on May 3 itself."

The performance last Sunday, available for an hour from 7pm at, was titled Dharkan (The Lion City's Heartbeat).

The other performances in the coming Sundays at the same time are called Gulzaar (Garden City), Fizaa (Tropical Paradise), Surkh (Little Red Dot) and Nazraana (Gift of #SGUNITED).

"All are meant to celebrate the vibrancy and beauty of Singapore and that could not have been achieved without the work put in by the migrant workers," said Sunena. "They are at the heart of it and have built and maintained it."

The series includes Kathak, Bharatnatyam, Odissi and Kuchipudi dances and performed by talented artistes such as Guru Mulla Afsar Khan, Chitra Shankar, Gayatri Sriram, Guru Amrita Lahiri and Guru Vikas. All the artistes are from Singapore Indian Fine Arts Society, Apsara Arts, Chitrakala Arts and Shrutilaya Dance School.

"The shows are free to watch, but my simple request is that if people find themselves smiling during the performances, they should consider donating to the Shukran fund, which will translate their smiles into smiles among the migrant worker community," said Sunena. The donations made to go straight to the Migrant Workers' Assistance Fund run by the Migrant Workers' Centre (MWC).

The Uttarkhand Association of Singapore also delivered two cheques worth $2,100 and $5,192 to the MWC on Monday. Its president Sunil Thapliyal said the sums were contributions from Uttarkhandis for the welfare of the migrant workers. Treasurer Dharmendra Rawat handed over the cheques.



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