From employer-employee to co-volunteers


by Ting Claravall

Aidha is fortunate to enjoy strong support in the expat community for our work with low-income women. Many in this community are happy to send their foreign domestic helpers on their Sunday day off to benefit from Aidha’s programmes. .. . Or even to become volunteers themselves.

But there are some who believe so deeply in the Aidha mission that they end up doing both.

Such is the case with Australian employer Sarah Druce and Norma Casinova, her domestic helper of five years. We sat down with this employer-employee team to learn more about what powers their commitment to Aidha – and to each other.

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“CELebrating CELmar” – Aidha thanks a loyal and dedicated volunteer…

By Ting Claravall with Kate Vickery

One of Aidha’s longest-serving alumni volunteers is leaving us to go back home to the Philippines and start her new journey as an entrepreneur. Celmar has been a mainstay at Aidha since almost the very first day we opened our doors. So here’s a simple tribute to show her how much we appreciate all she has done. Please join us in ‘Cel-ebrating Celmar’ and do wish her luck in her future endeavours by commenting below!

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May Student of the Month: Tri Utami – She doesn’t just want a business. She wants to build another Aidha.

Tri has been with Aidha since 2009 when she first joined as a student. She has been a trainee since 2011.

Tri has been with Aidha since 2009 when she first joined as a student

Many regular visitors to the Aidha campus will have seen the petite lady in a hijab shyly greeting and helping students and volunteers on Sundays.

But not so long ago, Tri Utami could barely look anyone in the eye when they spoke to her. She was that shy.

“Last time, I couldn’t even talk like this, person to person, looking straight at the eyes. I would look down. When I had to talk in front of people, I had no confidence at all, because I would feel that (since) I only graduated from high school, my English was just simple English.”

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Graduates take centerstage during Sunday Funday

Sunday Funday Chat With Our Students

Aidha’s monthly Sunday Fundays are one of the most popular campus activities that brings both past and present Aidha students, as well as non-students, together for a day of educational activities.

This month’s activity was a display of Aidha’s peer-supported learning at its best. Three graduates, Asha Cooray, Liza Padua and Tumini, generously agreed to be the featured speakers in a session entitled, “Chat with our Students”, where they shared about how much they’ve gained from studying at Aidha. The session was facilitated by long-time volunteer, Kate Vickery.

Let’s meet these three amazing ladies and see what they had to say!

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Aidha Alumni feature: Heden Dayawon

Heden Dayawon volunteering at Aidha

On March 15, 2015,  our gradate Heden Dayawon was featured with her employer, Ms Moonlake Lee, in the Lianhe Zaobao, Singapore’s leading Chinese newspaper. Heden talked proudly of the skills she had  acquired at Aidha. The article was translated for us by our friends and volunteers. 

ENGLISH TRANSLATION: “With support and encouragements from employers, foreign domestic workers are upgrading their skill sets and returning home to start their own businesses.” According to official statistics, there are more than 200,000 foreign domestic workers in Singapore. A vital portion of our working population. “Foreign domestic workers are a key part of the labour force in Singapore, and while they help families relieve their household burdens, some FDWs have also returned to campus to undergo financial and business skills training, with the support of employers’ support and encouragement.

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Helping Those Who Help Us At Home

By Debbie Reyes-Coloma

There are about 214,500 foreign domestic workers employed in Singapore.

They are mostly from the Philippines, Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka and Myanmar, but all share a similar desire: to escape poverty in their home towns, and give their families a chance at a better future. They’ll do whatever it takes to make it work. The money they remit home gets their children through school. It builds a modest house. It helps pay off debts. There’s usually very little left over, if anything at all. Read More