Marcel Bandur: I Myself Am a Migrant Worker

Meet Marcel Bandur, an NUS research assistant by profession, but volunteer by choice. Beginning his volunteering journey with the Migrant Workers’ Centre (MWC) about a year ago, Marcel continues to lend his time to the centre, helping out whenever he can (Photo Credit: NTUC This Week)

“I understand what it entails going to a different country, to try to settle in and to learn a foreign language. When you don’t have family support, it becomes very difficult. I myself am a migrant worker. Just because I have a higher paying job doesn’t make me anything other than that.”

Slovakian by birth, but having attended school in Thailand, England and Singapore, Marcel has experienced his fair share of being away from home and on the receiving end of kindness – a veritable source from which he is able to identify and empathise with the issues and challenges potentially faced by migrant workers.

This is also why he started volunteering with the Migrant Workers’ Centre (MWC) in October last year, helping out with the MWC Help Kiosk service and at events whenever he can. Yet as Brazilian prophet Jose Datrino famously said: “Kindness begets kindness.” Many times, he himself has been pleasantly surprised by the genuine kindness and acts of generosity shown to him by the migrant workers.

“There was this one migrant worker who just wanted to have dinner at a food court and talk with me. When we were done, he paid the bill without me knowing. That really touched me. He barely knew me, but was still so kind and generous.”

On his part, it has also made Marcel even more committed to his cause – a dedication he carries through even in the simplest things. “You know, for them, even a simple thing as saying ‘Don’t worry you can do this, you can get through it’ or smiling at them. It really makes a difference to their lives.”

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