CEO Message: Hellos and goodbyes

July and August was a time for change at Aidha.  As many of you know I came on board earlier this month and Aidha said a fond farewell to Karen Fernandez, who generously continues to provide behind the scenes advice, and also to our Volunteer and HR Manager, Sharda Vishwanathan. They will both be deeply missed from daily life at Aidha.  There are also fond departures this summer for a number of stalwart volunteers and alumni and we thank them all for their tremendous contributions, wish them all the best for the journey ahead, and they remain, of course, lifetime members of the Aidha family!

We also have some movement within the team, and starting in September, Supreetha Skanda Moorthy, will assume the Volunteer and HR Manager role, Roland Yap, who joined Aidha in July (welcome Roland!), will move from a part-time to a full-time role as Campus Manager, and Marjanne van der Helm will gradually move away from her Student Affairs Manager role to become our new Programmes Manager.

The very best thing about being part of Aidha is the incredible Aidha community. In this newsletter we tell the inspiring story of Joy, who graduated from Aidha in 2009 and has since gone on to become one of our Deputy Campus Managers as well as start a number of businesses back home, including imparting her business skills to help her daughter start a business, another example of Aidha’s marvelous multiplier effect. We also highlight one of our dedicated volunteers, Kate Vickery, who may be in the running for taking on the world record number of different roles at Aidha – mentor for a variety of courses, mentor trainer and buddy, curriculum developer, Facebook manager…and remarkably the list goes on! She also provides us with a lovely quote, “It is not just what drives you to Aidha, but the memorable and unexpected moments that Aidha gives back to you which are the true reward.”

It seems an incredibly busy period at Aidha with Graduation coming up in October and another big celebration for Aidha’s 10th Anniversary coming up in November. Our on-campus celebration was just a taster, so there’s much more to come on Aidha10, which we hope to involve everyone in!

Besides these big events, we also have an event coming up with NUS’s Asia Research Institute that will be a short film screening and discussion on the hopes and dreams or migrant workers and their families on 18 Sept, we are participating in a Sassy Mama event that includes awards to domestic workers on 1 Oct, and also will be hosting an Open House of our own on 2 Oct that will involve an exciting collaboration with Essilor who will be providing free eye testing and free eye wear to domestic workers who come for testing that day.  Also we’re very excited that one of our alumni, Nilushika Hettige, has been selected (after a pre-screening event involving 12 other speakers), to speak at the TedXSingaporeWomen event on 29 Oct!  See here for more information on these and other events.

Besides all this of course there is the ‘regular’ run of ADP and AAP workshops, the Big Pitch, the Graduation Business Plan competition, Sunday Skills sessions, volunteer trainings and orientation sessions and of course, classes.  While it seems super busy to me, I have however been assured that this is life at Aidha!

I know I’ve just touched the tip of the iceberg in terms of getting to know everyone but thanks to all I’ve met for the wonderfully warm welcome.  I look forward to meeting many more of you over time. You all know so much about Aidha that I am still learning about and I very much welcome your thoughts and ideas for Aidha moving forward.  Please feel free to reach out and get in touch.

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