ACMI x NParks: June holiday programmes at the Singapore Botanic Gardens for lower-income transnational families

  • Jun 07, 2022

7 June 2022

The Archdiocesan Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People (ACMI) has collaborated with the National Parks Board to bring together a series of family activities at the Singapore Botanic Gardens for transnational families during the June school holidays.

ACMI is a non-profit organisation that serves migrants in Singapore including vulnerable transnational families. Transnational family units consist of one Singaporean spouse and one foreign spouse. They make up about 37% of families in Singapore, out of which 18% belong to a Singaporean husband and foreign wife unit.[1] This group has the lowest monthly per capita income and highest level of family conflict. Foreign-born wives are also particularly vulnerable, being long-term pass holders and of a lower economic-socio status [2].

For lower-income transnational families, both spouses usually have to strive harder to generate income and work longer hours in order to provide for the family, leaving little time to build relationships at home. Foreign persons face higher fees across most services including education for foreign children and medical fees. ACMI helps lower-income transnational families by providing case management services, linking up professionals in providing psycho-emotional support, information and referral services, education sponsorship for foreign children and aiding them in meeting their subsistence needs.

The first outing, supported by Alfa Tech VestAsia Pte Ltd, took place on Saturday, 4 June at the Singapore Botanic Gardens. Families visited iconic locations within the Gardens as part of a guided Heritage Tour. They also enjoyed free entry to the National Orchid Garden, which features about 600 orchid species and hybrids. The programme was planned to cater to interests of different generations and family members, with ‘free and easy’ portions to facilitate family bonding. The outing was capped with a picnic lunch at the Palm Valley.

Singapore Botanic Gardens’ Director of Events & Exhibitions, Leong Cheng Yee shared, “We are delighted to host these families in the Gardens as part of our mission to connect people and plants. We hope to welcome more beneficiaries through meaningful partnerships with non-profit organisations. A big thank you to Alfa Tech VestAsia Pte Ltd for making this possible and students from ITE College East, who have been trained as volunteer befrienders by Youth Corps Singapore, for guiding the tours today.”

Many of our transnational families do not have the means to bring the whole family out for a day of excursion, to have a meal together or to visit places of interest. This family outing is meant to provide an opportunity for the family to bond, to learn and to enjoy their time together especially during the weekends of the June holidays.

ACMI’s executive director, Jacob Soo, shares “Most of the parents in the transnational families have to work most times to make ends meet. We hope that this allows the families to spend quality time with one another, forget their challenges for a little while and really to just enjoy the nature and sights of Singapore.”

Ms Linda, a spouse in a transnational family, said “It’s been about four years since we went out as a family. I’m usually working, and my kids are studying so it’s difficult for us to find a good time to go out. I’m really happy and grateful for this opportunity.”

About ACMI

ACMI, commissioned by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Singapore to serve all migrants – welcoming, protecting, promoting and integrating them into our community – regardless of socioeconomic status and religion. Our ministry includes Skills Development, Case Management & Pastoral Care, Outreach & Engagement and Pastoral & Formation.

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