Appeal for donations: Leamington Indonesian migrant workers lose all possessions in fire

Migrant workers Ana Yuli Astutik and Muji Rahayu work in Leamington at Sunrite Greenhouse Ltd. In Canada for four years to help produce vegetables, they recently lost everything in a fire that gutted Darina Shawarma & Bakery at 10 Erie St. N. They lived in an upstairs unit.

It’s important to note that Ana and Muji are not here as part of the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program (SAWP); rather, they are here on a Work Permit for four years. Such workers will usually be living on their own as opposed to SAWP workers here for the season and have accommodations provided (for a fee) by the employer. So a loss of possessions in a fire is truly devastating as their are no social services such workers are entitled to.

Leamington Apt Fire Location Sept 2017

Umi Kulsum, a worker in Leamington contacted me for help to see if donations could be arranged for the fire victims. I contacted Joan Golding, a Leamington resident and social justice ally who primarily works with Jamaican workers. Earlier today (Sunday, Sept. 24) I met with Joan and Umi in Leamington to get a better idea of the help needed.

Here is the situation: while Ana and Muji have a temporary home thanks to a local family, they need to find a new apartment with a maximum rent of $700.00 – a difficult task in the town of 31,000 people flooded with workers. That will take some time, and in the immediate term they need everything else – notably clothing, mattresses and bedding. If you are connected with the Leamington rental community, the workers need a 2 bedroom apartment renting at $600 – $700 per month. Ideally a furnished apartment would be ideal. The workers are employed and have an income.

Supporting Ana yuli astutik and Muji Rahaya
From L to R: Leon, Paul Chislett, Umi Kulsum, Muji Rahayu, Ana Yuli Astutik, Joan Golding (Photo: Handri Oktavianus)

The Appeal:

  • Immediate donations of women’s clothing medium and small, footwear including work shoes, size 71/2 – 8, and mattresses and bedding.
  • Further donations of dishes, furniture, and so on.

For further information and to arrange pickup of donations please contact Paul Chislett at the Windsor Workers’ Education Centre at 519 252 1212 or email:


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