LEND A HAND
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