Odia Society members spread cheer

Around mid-April, when Covid-19 surged in Singapore with hundreds of new cases reported every day, the 300-plus members of the Odia Society of Singapore (OSS) decided to pool resources and help migrant workers who were suffering the most.

They raised funds and began distributing essential items, such as sanitisers, masks and snacks, to workers at different dormitories around the island. The service soon escalated to providing reading materials like magazines and meals on special occasions.

OSS' youth members also started giving English tutorials to the workers so they could better understand the safety measures to be taken and keep the pandemic at bay.

"We collaborated with ItsRainingRaincoats, a charity dedicated to helping migrant workers in Singapore, to provide essential items to the workers on a monthly basis," said Mrs Sharada Sahoo, an OSS member who spearheaded the project along with Mr Bibhuti Mallick, the society's assistant general-secretary. .

"We focused on a number of dormitories, primarily Kovan Lodge, Woodlands Dormitory and Jurong Perjury Dormitory 1. Monthly more than 100 workers benefit from our efforts."

During Deepavali, OSS members also distributed goodie bags containing dhotis, murukku and ladoos to 122 workers in the dormitories. The workers were also treated to a biryani festive lunch.

"The support given by the Odia Society was extremely helpful as we couldn't go out," said Mr Madhavan Kamalanathan, a resident at Woodlands Dormitory. "Our families were previously worried. But they are not worried now because of the constant support we have been getting."

Mrs Sahoo said OSS' female members too have been enthusiastic supporters. "They made cash contributions and helped pack the goodie bags," she said. "Youth members also chipped in. They mentor migrant workers and assisted in the packing and delivery of goodie bags."

Mr Alok Panda, president, OSS, said "the project would not have been successful without the unconditional support and dedication of all OSS members, regardless of age".

"We might not be able to alleviate poverty or end world hunger tomorrow, but what we can do is help the community around us stand on their feet and bridge the gap to give them the added peace of mind where possible," he said.

Mr Mallick said "helping the community makes us extremely happy".

"Our wish to serve pushes us to stay committed to this cause," he added. "Our members' gentleness, goodness and goodwill will continue to make difference in people's lives."



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இந்தச் செய்திகளையும் படிக்கலாமே!