Written by Belinda Fowler
Arnolita Dela Cruz came to Singapore in 2005 from the Philippines to help support her family. She saved hard and had already bought some land, two small tractors and a couple of motorbikes with her earnings by the time she joined Aidha in 2018. But it was at Aidha that Arnolita learned how to make those assets really work for her.
“If I never joined Aidha, I would never have recognised what I had,“ she muses. “I realised that it’s not only about savings. I need to track my expenses and list down my goals … I had to list my assets on paper. Then I realised: wow, I actually have a lot of assets!” she laughs. “I started to make my assets work for me.”
Today, she works her land and rents out her vehicles in her hometown with the help of her family. “My family helps me to manage these assets, so they also have some income for themselves,” she beams. “I don’t have to worry about my family so much anymore.” Arnolita shares what she has learned at Aidha with them. “Now my mother has her own income, she tracks all expenses because I teach her.”
Arnolita’s advice: “Planning is so important … only then will you know how to manage what you have.” She plans to become a Student Ambassador so she can give back to the Aidha community. “It’s also a good way to build my leadership and confidence,” she explains, and she hopes to join the Aidha Business Accelerator upon graduation.
She wants to establish a rice storage business once she goes home. “I know how hard it is not to have rice,” she recalls. “When I was young, I once had no rice to eat for three days and I don’t want anyone to go through that.” She hopes that her business will provide opportunities for local employment.
Arnolita’s success so far is in good part due to her employers, who introduced her to Aidha and have encouraged and supported her throughout. “They are like family to me,” she says. With support like that and the skills and knowledge gained at Aidha, we’re confident that Arnolita has the tools to build a brighter, more financially independent future. We can’t wait to see what she does next!