Meet the Team!

You may or may not have seen Emily (left) or Paula (right) around on campus or at Aidha’s events but they are both part of the well-oiled engine that keeps the Aidha train running. Get to know them more in this fun little feature!

Taking on the role of Student Affairs Manager, Paula Samtaney is responsible for all student activities, whether it be spreading the word about the Aidha’s initiatives and courses, introducing new students to our programmes, ensuring students have the best possible experience or organising our biggest yearly event: Graduation!

We asked Paula some interesting questions and here are her answers!

Besides FDW causes, what other causes are you passionate about and why?
Paula: I have always been passionate about leadership development so anything that involves helping people to develop their leadership skills, I am more than happy to be involved in. Also, prior to joining Aidha, I did some volunteering for children with special needs and I would love to do that again.

What are your hobbies and interests outside of Aidha?
Paula: I love having my ‘me-time’ and taking leisurely walks (at least an hour, minimum) around nature parks in Singapore. Secondly is music, of course! Being a Filipino, I grew up listening to and singing songs and occasionally playing the guitar. Lastly, I love cooking! Cooking is like therapy for me and I love to cook the food that my grandmother used to make during special occasions. I also like trying out different cuisines such as Indian, Vietnamese, Burmese and Thai.

Tell us a little bit more about your favourite female non-fictional person and why you admire her?
Paula: It may sound a bit cliche but it would be Mother Theresa. In this modern world, having a little more love, understanding and compassion for others can go a long way.

Why is financial education important for women?
Paula: As an Aidha mentor previously, I believe that financial education is important for women to help them become self-sufficient and be financially independent. Upon doing so, they will have more confidence to pursue and achieve their goals.

And lastly, what is your favourite quote?
Paula: “Wherever you go, no matter what the weather, always bring your own sunshine. – Anthony J. D’Angelo

Emily Butterworth has been Aidha’s Programmes and Marketing Manager for over a year. She is involved in both developing Aidha’s financial education programme and also organises engagement and fundraising efforts like the annual Team Aidha Bike Ride, Aidha’s Charity Quiz Night and the Gift of Education campaign. In particular, she works on reviewing and refreshing our curriculum and managing our partnership work with Daughters of Tomorrow, running a money management class for low-income women. Most recently Emily has been leading Aidha’s online Task Force, pioneering Aidha’s efforts to support our students to continue their learning online during this challenging times.

Emily shared with us a piece of her life during a fun Q&A session!

Besides FDW causes, what other causes are you passionate about and why?
Emily: I’m passionate about equal opportunities, especially about women and girls having possibilities and choices in their own right – we deserve it and I believe everyone benefits. The issues we face in the world are often interconnected and I’m also passionate about social justice more generally, human rights, environmental issues, animal welfare and conservation. There is a lot to do to make life better for people but it’s not only people that matter.

What book series are you reading currently? And how do you like it so far?
Emily: I’ve just joined a book club to read and discuss Joanna Macy and Chris Johnstone’s ‘Active Hope’. It’s about how we respond to some of the challenges the world is facing and I’m finding it very relevant, helpful and thought-provoking.

Why is financial education important for women?
Emily: Money is such a fundamental aspect of how we organise things between people – it facilitates what we need and want in our lives – so knowing how to manage money is a vital skill for everyone. Sadly in most countries, women still face economic disadvantages. Financial education can help to redress this, assisting women to understand how to plan for what is important for themselves and their families and to put in place systems that will enhance their choices and opportunities and build their assets, security and resilience.

What is your favourite quote?
Emily: “Every individual matters. Every individual has a role to play. Every individual makes a difference.” – Dr Jane Goodall, DBE.

What are your hopes for Aidha in 2020?
Emily: 2020 has been challenging so far, as social distancing and our campus closure disrupted all our classes as well as our plans for development. However, it also forced us to experiment with an idea we’d been considering, taking classes online. We all miss the Aidha campus and so mainly I hope we can resume our campus classes and students can complete their modules. But I also hope that what we’ve learned through our online classes will enable us to offer financial education in more ways in future, so that we can reach even more women and, through them, benefit more communities too.

Do say hello to Paula and Emily if you see them around!

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