On March 15, 2015, our gradate Heden Dayawon was featured with her employer, Ms Moonlake Lee, in the Lianhe Zaobao, Singapore’s leading Chinese newspaper. Heden talked proudly of the skills she had acquired at Aidha. The article was translated for us by our friends and volunteers.
ENGLISH TRANSLATION: “With support and encouragements from employers, foreign domestic workers are upgrading their skill sets and returning home to start their own businesses.” According to official statistics, there are more than 200,000 foreign domestic workers in Singapore. A vital portion of our working population. “Foreign domestic workers are a key part of the labour force in Singapore, and while they help families relieve their household burdens, some FDWs have also returned to campus to undergo financial and business skills training, with the support of employers’ support and encouragement.
This week’s ‘Crossroads’ feature has spoken to two non-profit organisations to understand more about FDWs’ training situation, and invited two FDWs and their employers to share about the impact the education had on them.” However, many do not wish to remain as a foreign domestic worker for life, and some have been fortunate to have support from employers to upgrade themselves in their free time. After taking classes at Aidha, the domestic helpers are taught how to develop an entrepreneurial plan to start a business/venture when they return home. Their off days are now busy days for them as they attend classes/lessons that encourage them to have confidence to put their new knowledge/training to start a new entrepreneurial venture/business. Aidha helps to equip the workers with financial skills to manage their finances and make plans for their future Interview with Heden [our Aidha Alumnus] – “How one foreign domestic worker was able to leverage on her learning experience with Aidha to draft a concrete business plan.”
Heden’s employer, Ms Lee, signed her up with Aidha in 2010 after knowing about the organization from a friend who volunteered there. Since then, Heden has picked up basic financial management skills, and even drafting her own business proposal. After graduating from her course, Heden was able to purchase a refurbished laptop at a low price, to further her learning experience. Ms Lee is pleased with the increase in confidence in Heden, since signing her up with Aidha. “Aidha has given Heden the skill sets to be a good leader, and provided many opportunities for her to hone these skills”. Heden was involved as a coordinator in “Project Makan”, a fundraising event by Aidha, and made many new friends who shared common interests in self-upgrading and acquiring new skills.
While Heden has graduated from her course, she devotes twice a month to volunteer at Aidha, hoping to help more foreign domestic workers. On Aidha: Since its inception in 2006, Aidha has helped over 2700 foreign domestic workers who have been attending classes regularly, and its student base has been increasing consistently. This year, more than 700 new students have enrolled. According to Aidha’s CEO, Ms Karen Fernandez, more can be done to increase Aidha’s visibility to employers, allowing their foreign domestic workers to make use of this opportunity to learn and change their lives. “60% of our students have full financial support from their employers for their course fee. It is evident that employers have adjusted their mindset, and are more willing to support their maids in self-upgrading their skills… so that they have the opportunity to improve their lives.”