Ahead of International Migrants’ Day 2012 (IMD2012) on 18 December 2012, the Archdiocesan Office for Human Development (AOHD) and Pusat Kebajikan Good Shepherd (PKGS) organised an awareness project, ‘Hop On The Migrant Bus!’ regarding the lives and rights of migrants, and further to appreciate their contributions to Malaysia.
International Migrants’ Day is commemorated on the 18th of December every year as declared by the United Nations.
In conjunction with IMD2012, St Ignatius Church hosted migrants in the Petaling district on the 8th and 9th of December 2012. After the 8.45 am Mass on Sunday, Fr Andrew Wong officially opened the International Migrants’ Day exhibition. The Migrant Bus was filled with props of sorts including tools commonly used by migrants in the construction, plantation and manufacturing sectors, and kitchen utensils and household ware used by domestic helpers and workers at food courts and hawker centres.
The Bus was also decorated with flags of the different countries where the migrants came from. Balloons with the theme, ‘All Human All Equal’ lined the Bus and the church compound. Music greeted visitors as they hopped on the Bus and each was given a souvenir bookmark as they hopped off. Posters about the simple life of migrants and how they have contributed to the development and economic growth of our country were displayed.
Food items and handicraft were available for sale by the different migrant and refugee communities at the church cafeteria to raise funds for their respective communities. The young, and not-so-young, of the Burmese from Mentari Court and St Thomas More Church entertained with cultural dances and songs. With the upcoming Yuletide season, the celebrations ended with a Merry Christmas song, Burmese-style.
The Bus was parked at Good Shepherd Church, Setapak last weekend and will be at the Church of Our Lady of Lourdes, Klang on 15 and 16 December for visitors to hop on.
We Malaysians should indeed be grateful to the migrants.
Let us continue to zealously work with those who are forced to migrate in search for a better life for themselves and their families, and those who have to flee from violence and abuse of political power in their homelands.
Aren’t we all ultimately migrants?