Finals of the annual Finals of the Migrant Workers Poetry Competition, Singapore. First held in 2014, the Migrant Worker Poetry Competition has quickly established itself as one of the key events in the cultural calendar in Singapore.

The event has grown significantly in its short history – in 2020, the event received entries from a record 160 migrant workers in Bahasa Indonesia, Mandarin, Tagalog, Bengali, Tamil and Punjabi, a sharp rise from 28 participants in the event’s first edition. Different sections of Singaporean society have responded to the event enthusiastically as can be gauged by packed venue for the event and the reaction in social media.

The contest has received widespread recognition in both international and Singapore media such as the BBC, The Economist, 1843, and The Straits Times. Following the event, winners and participants from the event have been showcased in platforms such as the Singapore Writer’s Festival, TEDx, poetry slams with local poets, video documentaries, and dance recitals at the Esplanade, Singapore. Regular workshops on topics ranging from poetry writing, short story writing, and photography are now being organized in collaboration with the event organizers and local non-profit organizations such as SingLit Station and AIDHA. The works of migrant workers have been published by local and international publishers as well. The event has also inspired similar initiatives in UAE, Kuwait, Malaysia, etc.

In 2020, the competition reached out to a larger group of migrant workers to drive greater participation in the context of the pandemic.