At our last Graduation, we were so proud to witness more than 140 graduating students receive their certificates in the presence of their employers and employers’ families, along with the Aidha community of fellow students, volunteers and supporters.
Our keynote speaker was Ms Dipa Swaminathan, the founder of ItsRainingRaincoats and winner of the President’s Volunteerism and Philanthropy Award who shared about how each one of us can change the world, even if for just one person, with simple acts of kindness and encouraged the graduates to all become changemakers in their world, their community, their family.
Aidha aims to provide opportunities for FDWs to change their lives and the lives around them through financial education. Graduates from Aidha impact an average of nine other lives. This means that from the Aidha’s Class of 2019, 1,260 lives will be impacted in their home countries.
Claudine Lim, Chair of Aidha mentioned that, “We are so proud to see our students graduate with new found skills, self-belief and purpose. We witness this transformation taking place in our classrooms every single Sunday and this celebration is the culmination of their hard work and determination. We also love that so many of our graduates are focused not only on their own goals but also on paying it forward and sharing their learning with others back home.”
The graduating students have completed at least 12 months of course work for Aidha’s most advanced courses on financial planning or on entrepreneurship. In total Aidha enrols over 800 domestic workers in its courses every year, starting new classes on a rolling basis every month.
Some examples of Aidha students impacting lives of others are the winners of Personal Financial Plan competition, Christina Villena de Guzman and Siti Mujiati who spoke at the graduation.
After taking Aidha’s courses, Christina learned to not only save money but she is also finding other ways to grow her money. Using her learnings from Aidha, she has now invested in real estate back home and hopes to open an Internet cafe in Libmanan, a town in Camarines Sur, the Philippines. She explained, “I want to give my community easy access to the Internet so they can retrieve information from the web.” Aidha has taught Christina that such dreams are achievable by developing business skills and financial knowledge.
Siti Mujiati had no long-term goals prior to joining Aidha. At the graduation ceremony, she talked about previously planning to simply work as an FDW in Singapore to support her family back home. Through her learnings at Aidha, she now has plans of opening a hydroponic farm back in Indonesia to provide her community with fresher and healthier farm produce. “I also want to expose the young generation to urban farming in Cilacap, Central Java,” Siti added. ”Aidha’s classes had enabled me to put my dream into action and I am now on track to start my farm when I return to Indonesia.”
The graduation ceremony not only celebrated the students’ individual successes but also highlighted the importance of their employers’ support for them to pursue Aidha’s courses. Several of the winning students who spoke credited their employers with encouraging them to join Aidha. We were so happy to see that employers and their families filled up more than half of the auditorium!
Do watch the video here for the best bits from the Graduation Ceremony!