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Labour Day 2024 in Sabah, Malaysia

May 1 @ 8:00 am - 5:00 pm

Malaysia is home to a large population of migrant workers. They form the backbone of the labour force, especially in agriculture (palm oil plantations), construction, domestic households, and various other service industries.

Global Shepherds has been working with these migrant communities in Sabah, focusing initially on the children, teachers and parents at the community learning centres (CLC) and alternative learning centres (ALC) around Kota Kinabalu and Keningau. We have now expanded to Sandakan, and reach out to the entire community in a Dignity of Work project, aimed at amplifying the voices of migrant workers in realising decent work practices.

In honour of International Labour Day, we held simultaneous celebrations in Keningau and Sandakan with the migrant communities to show our appreciation, especially for the women’s hard work and contributions in various economic sectors. It was also an opportunity to build relationships and bond with the families in these communities.
A sizeable turnout graced the event – men, women and children. Despite some delays caused by
Sunday School classes and bad weather, the afternoon commenced with a video presentation,
followed by a series of entertaining games, reflection and sharing sessions, and naturally, lots of
food. A special mention to the womenfolk, who stepped out of their comfort zone and assumed
leadership roles, orchestrating the games and activities of the day.





Click:  https://youtu.be/DJ7upCmdX_w?si=kNpZ1SeJR0bE4N-4


Participants at both locations shared that the video screening on the history and significance of
Labour Day gave them a deeper insight and understanding. It also helped them realise the
importance of their work.
In Keningau, where programme participants are all smallholders or plantation workers, the small
group reflection sessions on St. Joseph, patron saint of workers, evoked feelings of gratitude and
pride, to be entrusted to care for God’s natural creation and preserve the harmony of nature. They
also shared that they look up to St. Joseph as a role model. They see him as a leader in the
workplace, within the family, and in the community



It was an incredibly enjoyable afternoon, a refreshing departure from their typical laborious week.
This small appreciation party strengthened their belief in their work and reminded them that their
struggles and challenges are meaningful. They felt appreciative for the opportunity to earn a decent
living and provide for their families. This event, in their eyes, was an acknowledgement of their hard
work and contribution to the economy.
On our part, we were able to build new relationships and strengthen existing ones. The occasion
served as a reminder that migrant workers are just like any of us, striving to earn a livelihood to
support their families and provide education for their children. They seize any job opportunity
available to them. As one participant quipped, “I work to improve my children’s quality of life.”

Epilogue :
Take a moment to appreciate the migrant workers in your vicinity – be it the domestic worker in your
home, the person who cleans the facilities, the carpenters, electricians, or those toiling on
construction sites, plantations, and farms. A simple smile, a greeting, or a word of thanks, or even a
nod of acknowledgement costs nothing but can brighten their day.

Selamat Hari Buruh !
Happy International Workers’ Day!

Written by :
Michele Rozells
Communications, Monitoring & Evaluation Officer
Global Shepherds Berhad,  Malaysia





May 1
8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Event Category: