CEO Message for September 2015: “All this month, I’ve been feeling so…”

If there was one feeling that kept coming back to me this month, it was… gratitude. Actually, overwhelming gratitude …for the generous, big-hearted, and loyal support Aidha continues to receive from our volunteer community.

From our Sunday mentors, to those who help in the office on weekdays, our fundraisers, our corporate Task Force members and those whom I sound out every now and then on a range of topics, I have never had, in all my 19 months since joining Aidha, anyone say they were too busy or not interested in helping. What any other organisation would give to be in such a fortunate and happy place!

Our inaugural ‘Chat with the CEO’ sessions, started this month as an informal forum for volunteers to ask questions and provide any feedback they had left me with two strong impressions:  firstly, that our community is very keen to hear about Aidha’s strategic goals and forthcoming plans, and genuinely interested in being more actively involved; and secondly, that there is still so much more we can do to communicate all the exciting developments taking place at Aidha.  So, while it was encouraging that several people signed up without hesitation to help with the local low-income women pilot programme and the Curriculum Review, I was quite dismayed to learn that several volunteers had not even heard of our Alumni Development Progamme (ADP), successfully piloted between January-June 2015, and which is now a core Aidha programme, similar to Modules 1 and 2. We will have more effective communication plans in future!

An e-blast was sent to all volunteers soon after the chat sessions to follow-up on questions and requests raised, including introductory email templates on Aidha that can be sent to friends and colleagues. If you didn’t receive this, please let us know.

In this month’s ‘Star Volunteer(s)’ section, we highlight some of the different ways volunteers are offering their time and professional expertise. For instance, if you have not heard of our Aidha Corporate Task Force (the what…?), please read about the significant contributions these amazingly loyal and generous volunteers  have made to Aidha over the last two years, including strategic counsel, fundraising, championing Aidha to decision-makers within their  CSR departments.

Looking ahead, free Basic English classes will be offered to current students and Alumni, starting 25 October 2015. Some students have been struggling to keep up with sessions and wanting to give up because of their low levels of English. This supplementary programme is taking shape only because of the hard work and dedication of a few volunteers who are now designing the content.  If you are interested in lending a hand, please let us know.

The next two ‘Chats with the CEO’ will be held on 11 and 18 October 2015.  Please come and share your ideas and feedback with me, be it bouquet or brickbat! And, of course, if you have any suggestions to improve our communication with you, we would love to hear your suggestions.

Once again, a very big heartfelt thank you to everyone who contributed in one way or another to making September in Aidha such a big success.

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