Aidha Turns 10 – Transforming Lives For Over a Decade

On December 1st, 2016, the Pavilion at Far East Square was filled with an impressive amount of orange. Orange dresses, orange decorations and even orange food! It was Aidha’s 10th birthday celebration and, as usual, the mood was excellent.

Written by: Vitttoria O.

The most orang-est event of the year! Aidha alumni and volunteers come together to celebrate Aidha’s 10th Anniversary

Aidha’s official emcee – Ms. Ting Claravall rocked the stage with her superb emcee skills

Students, staff, mentors, donors and volunteers crowded the Pavilion @ Far East Square to enjoy the fun program and celebrate Aidha’s decennial existence. Ms. Ting Claravall, master of ceremonies and long-term Aidha volunteer, animated the entire party with her usual cheerfulness and joy. Ms. Claudine Lim, co-founder of Aidha and current Chair of the Board of directors, opened the floor with a praiseful tribute to Aidha’s history. The audience listened in amazement as Ms. Lim listed Aidha’s milestones of the past ten years. Ms. Claudine received a heartfelt applause and was followed by Aidha’s current CEO, Ms. Jacqueline Loh, who expressed her genuine gratitude for past and present Aidha supporters and outlined Aidha’s ambitious plans for the future. Jacqueline also launched the Aidha10 Expanding Access Scholarships that evening. Thanks to a generous grant from Mastercard, 200 self-financing Aidha students will receive $100 scholarships towards their fees for Module 1 or Module 2 courses.

 Ms. Jacqueline Loh, Aidha’s CEO talks about future plans on Aidha and thanking the generous donors and supporters over the years

Two of Aidha’s alumni, Ms. Janelyn Pascua and Ms. Nilushika Hettige, brightened the stage with their own stories of achievement and success. Both of them managed to walk the long and winding road from domestic helper to independent business owner. Janelyn is a 2009 graduate, current Aidha volunteer and marathon enthusiast. She travelled to Singapore from the Philippines to ensure a proper education and a better future for her three children. Thanks to Aidha, Janelyn was able to build up a piggery and vegetable farm back home and she now considers Aidha as part of her family.

 Ms. Janelyn Pascua (far right) spoke on her struggles, story of empowerment and now, how she is helping people in need

Similarly, Nilushika makes no mystery of her gratitude towards Aidha. Despite her difficult past, she was able to join Aidha and open her own online tea selling business. She recently even set up her own NGO in Sri Lanka, which, very much like Aidha, aims to spread education and entrepreneurship amongst women. It was then Ms. Sarah Druce, another committed Aidha supporter, who captured the public’s attention with a very entertaining speech about her many years experience working as an Aidha volunteer. Her praise was mainly for the students, who inspired her with their positive attitude and strong determination. Throughout the years, Sarah also mentioned she joined several intensive photo shoots with herstudents, until she unintentionally gained the status of popular Facebook celebrity.

Ms. Sarah Druce (Back, 2nd from left) reminisces her time as a mentor and how the students inspires her

Throughout the ceremony, guests were able to socialise and get to know each other through several interactive games and activities. For the human timeline, everyone lined up according to the year they joined Aidha. The result was a massive gathering of Aidha enthusiasts in front of the stage and a collection of radiant smiles for the photographers. Those willing to take up the challenge also participated in the Aidha history quiz, featuring questions about past Aidha events, such as Project Makan or the Aidha bike ride. There was only one rule: one chocolate candy for each correct answer. Needless to say, no question remained unanswered.

Aidha Human Timeline: From 2006 to 2016! Looking forward to the next 10 years…

Additional prizes were distributed to the lucky winners of the raffle. Between gourmet restaurant vouchers, a digital camera and nights at a villa in Bali, several people went home with an extra load of happiness that day. Finally, it would not be an Aidha party without the participation of Aidha’s renowned modern dancing team, the Fabulous Fighters, who delighted the guests with two beautiful performances and made sure to animate the dance party afterwards. All in all, the event at the Pavilion was a wonderful way to celebrate Aidha and all its past and present achievements.

The talented duo: Ms. Charmaine Palaez and Ms. Rebecca Tan

This could not have happened without the help of Aidha’s generous sponsors, including Mastercard, M1,the Luxasia Foundation, Quadmark, LAVISH Dine Catering, Mr Ken Cambie, Villa Bugis, Wallaw Productions Pte Ltd, The Wine Company, Ms. Niky Sakhrani, District 10 Bar & Restaurant, Mr John JK Tan, Ms. Kelly Payfer, Nicolas Le Restaurant, Peony Jade Restaurant and The Pavilion @ Far East Square. To them goes Aidha’s gratitude for making this great event possible. Thank you also to Ms. Charmaine Palaez and Ms. Rebecca Tan, the talented duo who accompanied the whole event with wonderful music.

Boogie the night away – students, volunteers and staff members danced along to the music

Thank you to the photographers, Ms. Alex Campbell, Ms. Emma Gumangan and Ms. Gina Chiang, for taking a great series of pictures that perfectly captured the mood of the night. Last but not least, thank you to the organising committee, who worked tirelessly to make this event a really successful one: Ms. April Serrano, Ms. Priscilla Pusy, Ms. Chelsea Curto, Ms. Kelly Payfer, Ms. Cornelia Mathis, Ms. Tripti Bhadauriyah, Ms. Devanshi Sanghvi and Ms. Ida Supahat. As Ms. Druce pointed out during the ceremony, Aidha’s most important goal is to provide the students with the freedom of choice over their own lives. The Aidha 10-year celebratory video broadcast during the dinner made it very clear to the audience that Aidha has already achieved this for a countless number of students. Aidha is an extraordinary community that works and succeeds through the tight collaboration between donors, mentors, volunteers, students and staff. The plans for the future are ambitious and exciting and it seems Aidha’s achievements of the past ten years are only the beginning.

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