Written by: Priyansha Reddy
Ritchelle Mantiquilla is from the Phillippines and is a widow with 2 sons. Much against the will of her father, she moved to Singapore 10 years ago, in search of work and a better future for her sons. She earnestly explains that a helper’s job is no different from a mother’s and vehemently disapproves of the stigma associated with this selfless profession. Little did she know that fateful day, the magnitude and extent to which her life would change, forever.
Over the course of her initial few years in Singapore, she developed a close bond with her employer. She also speaks fondly of her employer’s son, with whom she shares a love for painting. One day, she heard the news of her father’s sudden death but unfortunately could not be there for her family. This, she explains, was one of the most trying periods of her life.
Ritchelle sharing the story behind her winning photograph at the 2017 Unspoken Life Photography Exhibition.
Soon after, at the suggestion of her employer, she enrolled at Aidha. She recalls feeling shy and intimidated during her first few classes but goes on to reflect on how Aidha has completely changed her life and is the reason for her incredible transformation. She has met many remarkable women there who she believes have empowered her and paved the way for many of her major milestones, women with whom she created a lifelong bond.
What a talent! Her paintings were also presented at several exhibitions.
Ritchelle is a strong and inspiring person whose life experiences have moulded her into a woman of steel. The fearless move to another country and her subsequent involvement with Aidha has unearthed the many talents in her that she once didn’t know she possessed but can now proudly showcase. She is many women in one: a gifted photographer whose photographs have been part of Unspoken Life Photography Exhibition multiple times, a talented painter, an interior designer who ingeniously sources her fabrics from India, a soulful blogger, a chef who aspires to open a restaurant business, a selfless mother and a passionate domestic worker.
Even though she has earned multiple accolades across various walks of life, she is not the least bit conceited about her achievements. Instead, she derives happiness from her loved ones’ accomplishments and successes. The challenges she has faced and overcome have turned her into a poignant woman with a heart of gold, soft yet fierce, gentle yet resilient.