Wiwik Sunariyah’s student life in Indonesia was not exactly the carefree days people usually imagine a student’s life to be. Her family was struggling with a heavy financial burden. When there isn’t enough food on your plate, school fees, books and uniforms are not the top priority. As the eldest of six siblings, Wiwik felt a great responsibility to make a change. One day, she swallowed her fears and set off to Singapore in search of better luck.
Written By: Vittoria O.
When Wiwik Sunariyah first arrived in Singapore, she felt like a little girl who knew nothing — a new environment, a new job, a new language. As scary as the beginning was, turning back was no option. Now, Wiwik is the trusted employee of a Singaporean family. She has taken care of their home, family and 22 cats for the past 15 years!
Wiwik putting the finishing touches to her dish in a cooking competition on the Asian Food Channel (AFC).
When Wiwik first found out about Aidha, her initial ambition was to join the organization to improve her English. Very soon, it became clear that she would gain a lot more.
Wiwik presenting her business plan to the panel at The Big Pitch
Among her many tasks, cooking is her favourite and the dream to transform her talent into a business has always been at the back of her mind. After completing all the courses at Aidha, she completed the Alumni Development Programme (ADP) and became one of the finalists of The Big Pitch. As a result, she won some seed funding and mentoring for a year. Now, every month, she meets with her mentor to discuss the details of her business plan. Her years of working and saving have enabled her to buy a piece of land to realize her life-long dream — her own nasi padang Restaurant. Wiwik had never thought of herself as a successful person before. But Aidha gave her the strength to come out of her shell.
Wiwik (top left) with other Aidha ambassadors and Aidha Communications Manager, Ida Supahat, at the 67th Canadian Ball in April
Today, she is a financially literate business woman with strong communication skills and self-confidence. Though she still gets a bit nervous at times, she is not afraid to speak out in public and her insecurity is long gone. “The beginning is always the hardest part of change,” she says, “but everything beautiful has its own time.” There was a time when Wiwik did not even know where Singapore was. Today, her story is a wonderful example of determination, self-empowerment and success.