Archbishop Nicholas Chia leads a prayer during the blessing ceremony for ACMI’s new training centre. With him are (from left) ACMI executive director Jeremy Khoo, spiritual director Fr Angel Luciano and chairman Mark Goh.
Archbishop Nicholas Chia has blessed and officially opened the migrants commission’s new training centre now located at the Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
The centre used to be at the former St Joseph’s Convent at Hillside Drive.
ACMI staff and volunteers, most of whom are migrant workers, attended the Oct 26 evening ceremony.
One such worker, Ms Rina Dorate, said she is happy that ACMI is continuing to help foreign domestic workers with its training programmes.
The Archdiocesan Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People (ACMI) has converted what used to be a hall at Nativity Church into six classrooms, which have been fitted with equipment for training programmes.
ACMI says it will use these and several catechism classrooms to conduct courses on cooking, baking, dressmaking, hairdressing, beauty and wellness, caregiving, small business enterprises, and computer and language.
Because of the smaller premises, ACMI will now space its classes over two terms in a year instead of having a single eight-month-long term.
Classes will start on Dec 18 while registration for the courses will be on Nov 13 and 20 at ACMI’s former premises at 11 Hillside Drive, near to the Church of Immaculate Heart of Mary.
ACMI says it plans to charter a bus to bring students to its new training centre on the registration days to familiarise them with the new premises.
Meanwhile ACMI executive director Jeremy Khoo reiterated Archbishop Chia’s call that domestic workers be given a weekly day off for them to relax and recharge.
Mr Khoo said he is also hopeful that the government would pass a law that would give domestic workers a day off each week.
Speaking on the sidelines of the centre’s opening, he said he understands employers’ reluctance in giving their domestic workers a day off for fear the latter might mix with bad company and get into trouble.
In a small way, ACMI helps such workers improve themselves in a safe environment and hopefully the peer support would help them behave responsibly, Mr Khoo said.
He encouraged employers to sign up their domestic workers for ACMI’s courses.
Some employers had initially given their workers a day off once a month to attend the courses.
However, after seeing their workers’ skills improving in areas such as cooking, these employers decided to give their domestic help more days off, he said.
For more information on ACMI’s courses, go to http://www.acmi.org.sg/services_courseguidelines.php
By Darren Boon