LEND A HAND

Herworld (Singapore) - - HOW TO BE A BETTER HUMAN BEING -

Four en­ter­pris­ing women tell us how they are em­pow­er­ing other women, and how you can help too.

PAIGE PARKER, Sin­ga­pore Com­mit­tee for UN Women: The or­gan­i­sa­tion helps raise aware­ness and funds for the End­ing Vi­o­lence Against Women, Eco­nomic Em­pow­er­ment, and Gover­nance and Lead­er­ship Pro­grammes.

“On my three-year road trip around the world, I wit­nessed women as sec­ond-class cit­i­zens, at best, in much of our world. I saw women with­out free­dom of move­ment, the right to ed­u­ca­tion, or even pass­ports. Af­ter that, I knew I wanted to do what I could to im­prove the lives of women and girls.”

Be­sides guid­ing the di­rec­tion, strat­egy and man­age­ment of the pro­grammes, the com­mit­tee raises funds and aware­ness. Paige also works on events such as the an­nual Snow Gala and con­nect­ing donors and in­di­vid­u­als to UN Women, which seeks

to em­power women ev­ery­where.

“Our new­est mis­sion is to help the Ro­hingya refugees in Bangladesh by build­ing seven mul­ti­pur­pose Women’s Cen­tres where they will have safe refuge, med­i­cal care, liveli­hood and skills train­ing.”

How you can help: Vol­un­teers are al­ways wel­come, and do­na­tions go a long way. “Par­ents can also sup­port our Girl­s2­pi­o­neers pro­gramme; we work with sec­ondary schools to pro­vide men­tor­ship op­por­tu­ni­ties for girls aged 10-15, to en­cour­age stud­ies and ca­reers in STEM (Science, Tech, En­gi­neer­ing and Math­e­mat­ics).” www.un­women.org.sg

PURNIMA KAMATH, co­founder and direc­tor, Women Who Code

Sin­ga­pore: The global non-profit or­gan­i­sa­tion aims to in­spire more women to have ca­reers in tech­nol­ogy.

“A few years ago, our CEO, Alaina Per­ci­val, and the team were at the New York Stock Ex­change (NYSE) to ring the morn­ing bell. I re­mem­ber be­ing im­pressed with how they cre­ated a move­ment to in­spire women in tech­nol­ogy, and sub­se­quently had a large in­sti­tu­tion like the NYSE recog­nise it! I wanted to bring the move­ment here and do some­thing sim­i­lar.”

“I felt we lacked a pro­fes­sional women’s net­work in the city and wanted to fill that gap with a lo­cal Women Who Code net­work.”

To­gether with co-founder Choong Yue Lin, she runs hackathons, tech talks and work­shops, in ad­di­tion to pro­vid­ing a plat­form for women in tech to give talks with­out fear of dis­crim­i­na­tion or in­tim­i­da­tion.

How you can help: Sign up to the Code Re­view newslet­ter for up­dates, re­sources on learn­ing how to code, dis­counts on in­ter­na­tional

con­fer­ence tick­ets, and job alerts. www.wom­en­whocode. com/sin­ga­pore

JAC­QUE­LINE LOH, chief ex­ec­u­tive

of­fi­cer, Aidha: This award-win­ning char­ity of­fers fi­nan­cial ed­u­ca­tion and self-de­vel­op­ment pro­grammes for for­eign do­mes­tic work­ers and low­er­in­come women.

“I have al­ways be­lieved eco­nomic em­pow­er­ment was es­sen­tial for women’s em­pow­er­ment. Pro­vid­ing women with the skills and con­fi­dence to con­trol their own des­tinies is the type of de­vel­op­ment in­ter­ven­tion that I think lasts, and has so much pos­i­tive im­pact on the women’s fam­i­lies and com­mu­ni­ties.”

As CEO, she helps to pre­pare, run and or­gan­ise its cour­ses for the 400 stu­dents who are en­rolled at any one time, in ad­di­tion to meet­ing Aidha’s part­ners and po­ten­tial part­ners to ex­plore new col­lab­o­ra­tions.

Jac­que­line says most of the char­ity’s 250 vol­un­teers and men­tors are work­ing pro­fes­sion­als.

How you can help: “We pro­vide train­ing and cur­ricu­lum ma­te­rial for men­tors. Depend­ing on the course, the time com­mit­ment could be as lit­tle as one to two hours, once a month.” www.aidha.org KANAK MUCHHAL, women’s sup­port man­ager, Daugh­ters of To­mor­row (DOT): This char­ity helps low­in­come women be­come job-ready and find sus­tain­able jobs.

“Most peo­ple in Sin­ga­pore are un­aware that around 140,000 fam­i­lies here live in ur­ban poverty, and more than 25,000 of those fam­i­lies live on less than $650 a month. It wasn’t un­til I started work­ing as a part-time coun­sel­lor at a Fam­ily Ser­vice Cen­tre that I re­ally un­der­stood what the liv­ing con­di­tions were like, and the dif­fi­cul­ties marginalised fam­i­lies face – the cur­rent sys­tem was not meet­ing their needs. I joined DOT as I felt it was ac­tively mak­ing a dif­fer­ence to change these fam­i­lies’ lives, one woman at a time.”

Kanak now works with a team of vol­un­teer be­frien­ders who reach out to ben­e­fi­cia­ries. “And I still spend one-to-one time with some ben­e­fi­cia­ries every week.”

How you can help: DOT hopes to re­cruit, train and de­ploy 50 new be­frien­ders in 2019. Or you can sign up to be a vol­un­teer child­min­der in the evenings. If you’re tight on time, do­na­tions help too. w w w. daugh­ter­soft­o­mor­row. org

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