Chandni’s enthusiasm for education can be seen when she’s mentoring in her class
Chandni Chellappa has long felt a desire to level the playing field for women. Born to progressive parents in Chennai, India, Chandni counts herself lucky that she was “allowed to grow in ways that perhaps other girls weren’t given the chance to.”
Written by: Sarah Datta
After moving to Singapore to study in 2008, Chandni was introduced to Aidha by her university friend (also an Aidha mentor). After completing her studies, a drive to play an active role in a community of women with less-fortunate upbringings led Chandni to start volunteering as a mentor.
Chandni Chellappa, an Aidha volunteer since 2012
“Aidha’s mission resonated with me, so I attended the volunteer orientation and then started mentoring computer workshops,” she recalled. Inspired by the progress made by her students during those first nine months, Chandni decided to sign up to mentor other modules. Since then, she has mentored for nearly every club at Aidha!
With a day job as a process engineer and a love of reading, scuba diving and travelling (with her husband, a fellow Aidha volunteer), Chandni still finds the time to take on buddy mentoring and training. She even became the Head of Training for Aidha in 2016!
A big supporter of Aidha! Chandni not only supports Aidha in classes but external events as well.
Perhaps most inspiring about Chandni is her determination to improve as a mentor, to give her students the best possible experience. After her first batch, she was curious to see the effect Aidha’s other courses had on students. “I signed up to observe multiple classes led by experienced mentors, to learn how to effectively facilitate discussions, Chandni said. She would also seek their advice when preparing for sessions – and urges others to do the same; “I would encourage mentors to step out of their comfort zones, as Aidha provides many opportunities for mentors to learn and grow.”
Cheering on her students who graduated from Aidha’s Graduation Ceremony 2017!
Like most mentors, Chandni recalls a few stand-out moments from her time at Aidha. She remembers one student, who was forced to drop out of school when she was 18 years old and subsequently had to move to Singapore to support her family and now she is a successful businesswoman who is also working to encourage others like her. “Her story represents a classic example of how educating women can create a ripple effect, helping families, communities, and countries achieve long-lasting benefits,” said Chandni.