Hawkers Step Up to Care for Migrant Workers through Wok the Talk

Since 19 April, Mr Abdullah Mohamed, who runs the Badriya Indian Muslim food stall at Jurong West BLK 496’s coffee shop, has been putting in extra work to prepare 400 meals a day for migrant workers in need. Since Ramadan started, his fellow hawkers cook into the night to ensure Muslim migrant workers get their morning meal before fasting begins each day.

On the second day of Ramadan (25 April) , 800 fruits and 200 appreciation cards were also delivered with the food. We have partnered with Hope Initiative Alliance and COVID-19 Migrant Support Coalition to reach out to migrant workers in six Factory Converted Dormitories (FCDs). This is just the beginning of the impact YMCA Wok the Talk Project hopes to bring.


Amidst the COVID-19 crisis, vulnerable communities face increased challenges in accessing food and necessities. For instance, migrant workers living in dormitories were affected as social distancing requirements meant they were no longer able to cook in their shared kitchen spaces as they did before. They were also unable to leave these dormitories to purchase food or groceries. This led to an urgent need for alternative ways of preparing their meals.

In response, YMCA Wok the Talk engaged hawkers and taxi/private hire drivers in preparing and delivering meals to these dormitories. This also supports these service providers, who suffered a drop in job activities and income due to the COVID-19 pandemic.


 The engaged hawkers put in love and dedication into the preparation of each meal, striving to serve nutritious food that would warm the migrant workers’ hearts along with their stomachs.

“We are glad to be a part of an act of solidarity for Singapore. The days ahead are very critical. If everybody can play a part, including the hawkers and people who are staying at home, we will definitely move forward in the battle against this virus,” said Mr Abdullah Mohamed.


Students from YMCA Student Care Centres and Nanyang Primary School were also taught about the significant contributions these workers have had on the nation’s growth. They made heartfelt appreciation cards that were delivered alongside these meals, greatly encouraging the workers.


 In the coming weeks, Wok the Talk hopes to expand its reach to serve persons with special needs, seniors and families in need. In addition to packed meals, the programme will deliver grocery packs, so they do not need to risk public exposure in order to access daily necessities.

The COVID-19 pandemic has given rise to many new challenges. However, with public support, YMCA of Singapore hopes to reach out and alleviate the situation for those who need a helping hand.

Read more and donate to the project at http://wokthetalk.ymca.org.sg/.


Contributed by Sim Yu Xiang.