A Graduation Like No Other!

Written by Cathy Heeley

October is always a special month at Aidha as we celebrate the graduation of our students from Modules 2 and 3. These students have completed at least 12 months of financial education at Aidha and worked hard to complete their own personal financial plans and business plans. 

For over a decade Aidha has held a formal ceremony in a concert hall with an audience, special guests, presentations, dancing and lots of hugs. But that wouldn’t be possible this year. 

How could we make Graduation Day a truly special occasion to reflect the fantastic achievements of our students in challenging times, an event to celebrate their learning journey and encourage and inspire them for the future?

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Riding for Aidha

Every year, Aidha corporate partners, supporters, volunteers, staff and students come together to ‘Ride for Aidha’ in OCBC Cycle. This year, the much-anticipated sporting event was re-conceived as a Virtual Ride. Despite the changes to the event, the Aidha community rose to the challenge and we’re delighted to have more than 135 riders now completing their distance rides on behalf of Team Aidha.

The new format allows cyclists to choose their own route and day of cycling. They’re completing their rides between 1-15 November, and you can follow their progress on our social media pages. Please support our riders by donating here.

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Online Learning Challenge!

Taking learning online is now the new normal but it is a challenging task to adopt new learning techniques very quickly!

At Aidha, benefiting from the expertise in our community, and huge willingness to help, we were able to draw on the skills and experience of our staff and volunteers to create a new delivery model for our financial education programmes. Now we’re all becoming Zoom experts!

For one of our recent graduates, Siti Mujiati, life became extremely busy under Circuit Breaker and Phase Two but she was determined to keep learning. Online classes allowed her to continue learning at her own pace, though it was different from the usual classes. She soon got the hang of using online video conferencing platforms such as Zoom and Facebook Live not only to continue her learning but to connect with her friends and family.

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Shining a Light on Aidha’s Unspoken Life

Aidha’s much-awaited signature event, the 4th edition of Unspoken Life Photography Exhibition was launched virtually on 4th October 2020. For the first time ever, we brought our exhibition online by displaying winning photographs in a virtual gallery. The online exhibition is curated by local photography zine, Your Local News Stand. Despite the many challenges this year, we received almost 200 amazing submissions of varying photography styles and were very impressed with the compelling stories behind each photo. 

Unspoken Life seeks to delve beneath the labels and unfurl the many selves of foreign domestic workers (FDWs) often unseen by Singapore society. The virtual exhibition also celebrates the strength, courage and creativity of foreign domestic workers – who are also mothers, sisters, daughters and artists – here seeking a brighter future for themselves and their families. 

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Letter from the CEO

Dear Friends of Aidha,

Hope you have been staying safe and well through these unprecedented times.

Since the pandemic started to take hold in the early part of this year Aidha, like everyone, has been very busy adapting to a changed world. You will have received an update in May on all our various new online activities and these have continued apace over June and July as well. With the gradual easing of restrictions, we very much hope we can be back at our campus soon but we are also making contingency plans to potentially bring even more of our classes online in case that is not possible.

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Taking learning online with our Module 3 students!

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Shedding Light on FDWs’ Inside Lives

As Covid-19 forced the postponement of Aidha’s annual Unspoken Life Photography Competition and Exhibition, in mid-May, Aidha launched Inside Life, a mini-photography contest for foreign domestic workers (FDWs) in Singapore. Inside Life was launched to get the participants’ creative juices flowing in light of the extension of the Circuit Breaker. It also served as a platform for aspiring photographers to try their hand at photography and hone their skills.

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Overall Winner, Siami, shares her positive outlook on the pandemic, “It’s hard in this COVID-19 situation. But it can’t beat us. Like the wheels of the bicycle, we need to keep our lives moving.”

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Friends for Keeps at Aidha!

Meenakshi Sanghi and Belinda Fowler became friends while studying to be English teachers and both joined Aidha as ‘Improve your English’ mentors soon after.  Passionate advocates for women’s education, they love that as Aidha volunteers they can make a practical difference in students’ lives.

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Meenakshi and Belinda are also office volunteers and they’re a great help in Aidha’s events and marketing campaigns.

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Light Up the World

After graduating from high school in Lampung, Indonesia, Rara Anggriani worked at her relative’s shop selling spare parts before heading to Malaysia to become a domestic worker. After a couple years in Malaysia, Rara arrived in Singapore in 2012 to work as a domestic worker and has since helped fund the construction of a family home in Indonesia as well as set up another spare parts shop that is managed by her mother.

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Despite challenges in her youth, Rara managed to always remain positive and it radiates when she shares about her hopes and dreams.

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