By Nelly Navarro and Ting Claravall
Every year, the Association of Women for Action and Research (AWARE), Singapore’s leading gender equality advocacy group, rewards deserving local initiatives* that eliminate barriers and promote empowerment through research, education, training and support services.
The 2015 panel of judges*, which included such luminaries as former Ambassador to the United Nations, Professor Tommy Koh, praised the current scale, success and continuity of Aidha’s programmes. The judges also commended Aidha on not only tailoring courses to suit the specific needs of foreign domestic workers (FDWs), but also providing a sense of community and belonging to women who are often marginalised.
Besides recognising Aidha’s merits, this award is also an encouragement to extend our positive impact to more women. “It is thanks to the hard work of all the volunteers and staff of Aidha, past and present. I hope it will further raise the profile of Aidha and our good work,” said Claudine Lim, Aidha co-founder and Chairman of the Board.
The award ceremony was held during AWARE’s 30th Birthday Ball held at the Shangri-La Hotel on 7 November. “You cannot imagine how proud we were when we saw the Aidha logo, on such a big screen and in front of hundreds of people!” recalled the trainee team representing Aidha that evening. “We were all the more thrilled as we didn’t know at first what the event was about. We were just asked to come for a ‘surprise’. Then there we were, receiving this award in behalf of everyone at Aidha!”
The evening was spent celebrating the award over fine food and on the dance floor. It was also a good opportunity to share Aidha’s story, as many people attending the AWARE ball approached the team to learn more about the organisation.
As Aidha CEO Karen Fernandez highlighted during her acceptance speech: “This is for the over 2,800 extraordinary foreign domestic worker students who have come through the doors of Aidha in the past nine years. Tonight , we celebrate them all…”
*The three 2015 AWARE Award winners were Aidha, for Financial Empowerment: NGO Initiative; Citi for Financial Empowerment: Corporate Initiative; and Student group The G Spot, for Student Initiative.
*The 2015 Aware Award jury was composed of Ms Eleanor Wong (playwright, lawyer and current Director of the Legal Skills Programme at the Law Faculty of NUS), Dr Kanwaljit Soin (first woman Nominated Member of Parliament), Professor Tommy Koh (Ambassador-at-Large for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs), Mr Choo Zheng Xi (2015 Civil Society Advocate of the Year) and Ms Faeza Sirajudin (Vice President of Aware).