On 19 March 2023, the Rotary Club of Singapore (RCS), in partnership with the Alliance of Guest Workers Outreach (AGWO),  launched a 6-month cricket programme for migrant workers at Tuas South Recreation Centre. 

About the Programme

The Community Service Committee (CSC) of Rotary Club of Singapore this year has chosen to work on a Mental Health Project for Migrant Workers (Guest Workers) which uses sports to enhance mental and physical wellbeing. 

Migrant workers in Singapore work tirelessly to ensure that the country is operating and developing smoothly. There are around 100,000 migrant workers living in Tuas, a remote industrial area that is isolated with no avenues for recreation. It is crucial for them to have healthy and engaging outlets to keep them in the best of mental and physical health.

As part of this programme, guest workers will get to play cricket every Sunday for the next 6 months. RCS is providing cricket equipment for around 100 guest workers to regularly play cricket every Sunday for the next 6 months. RCS is also providing jerseys and shoes to 200 guest workers who will participate in the program.

To incentivise the guest workers, they will be provided a meal and drink after they finish playing every Sunday. In addition, RCS is has put together a group of cricket coaches to provide regular professional cricket coaching to the participants. To make it even more engaging for guest workers, monthly interactive sessions on zoom would be organised with cricketers. At the end of 6 months, there would be a Guest Worker Cricket League organised. RCS members will be involved in arranging and engaging in these activities over the 6-month period. 

So far 170 migrant workers have registered for the programme and this number is expected to grow to 200. 

Why Cricket for Mental Health

Sports can be a great way to relax and manage stress. Playing a sport forces us to put aside our worries and concentrate on the task at hand. This helps us clear our mind and calm down. Physical exercise also triggers the release of endorphins, the ‘happy hormone’ that relieves pain and stress. It also reduces the levels of stress hormones, cortisol and adrenaline. 

Research shows that taking part in sports in a group has a greater impact on mental health than individual sports. Participating in team sports means being part of a team which also boosts our social-being and sense of belongingness. Team sports like cricket engender healthy competition and helps develop the ability to think on our feet, deal with disappointment and loss and exercise our problem-solving skills. Cricket is very popular among guest workers. Many of they grew up playing cricket or watching it passionately. 

While the TSRC has cricket nets and a field, it is not used regularly as playing a team sport like cricket requires coordinating and gathering a group. Also the absence of a structured program and equipment hinders playing cricket. Keeping the love for this sport and the benefits of team sports in mind, RCS is launching this 6-month cricket program to support physical and mental wellbeing of GW.

About the Partners

For this programme, RCS has partnered with the Alliance of Guest Workers Outreach (AGWO), which is a movement of the Hope Initiative Alliance (HIA), that partners with various voluntary welfare organisations, guest worker dormitories, and government agencies. HIA is an inter-racial, inter-religious and intercultural charity organisation that aims to provide holistic care for the vulnerable and marginalised communities.

JTC, under a mandate of Ministry of Manpower, has set up Tuas South Recreation Centre for emotional & physical wellbeing of Guest Workers. AGWO is contracted by JTC to run activities at this Tuas South Recreation Centre. Around 100,000 guest workers live in Tuas, a remote industrial area that is isolated with no avenues for recreation.