Can you imagine the kind of sacrifice foreign domestic workers (FDWs) make just to give their loved ones a better life?
I know someone who might: Ida Supahat. Ida is the communications manager of Aidha, a charitable organisation that helps FDWs and low-income women in Singapore.
“There are nearly 250,000 FDWs here, and they have made the difficult decision to leave their children and family behind in the hopes of creating a better future,” she relates.
“While their remittances provide much needed financial support to their families, most women return home with little to no savings at the end of their contracts.”
That doesn’t seem right
Especially with all the effort and long hours FDWs put in.
“Ever since I started working at Aidha, these stories have become pretty common. They’ve motivated me to reach out to more women on how important it is for them to learn about financial literacy,” Ida stresses.
“It may be a simple concept to you and me; however, they face a lot of complexities, such as cultural differences, familial obligations and societal pressure. Almost all of them have dreams and goals that they want to achieve, and I want to be part of that journey where we can help to empower them and provide opportunities.”
Thankfully Aidha is able to do all that with its courses and programmes, where these women gain the confidence, knowledge and skills they need to start planning for their financial future. They get the chance to invest, build their own businesses and boost their support network, so that they can become more independent, self-sufficient, and better financial decision-makers.
“Aidha has successfully taught over 4,000 women since 2016. As a result of our programmes, our alumni increase their average monthly savings by nearly 80 per cent; we also have a lot of success stories from our students on how their experience at Aidha has totally changed their lives,” Ida adds.
We can help change lives too
FDWs are there behind the scenes, making sure things go smoothly. But like Ida said, they need a hand too. 😊
This is where we step in. Through Aidha, Ida shares how we can help FDWs and other women lead a life they can be proud of, enjoy and thrive in, because they (and we all) deserve it.
#1 Create a safe zone where everyone is welcome and accepted
“My experience working at a non-profit has opened up my eyes to a lot of social issues in Singapore that I might not have been as familiar with before. I was also introduced to like-minded people who are socially aware,” Ida observes.
“It gives us the platform or a safe space to discuss any kind of issue without judgment.”
#2 Be that someone they can turn to for inspiration and support
“Our students are very appreciative of the community at Aidha, and they are very authentic with how they express their gratitude. Despite the challenges that they face in their personal lives, they have a positive outlook on life. And what strikes me the most is how very resilient they are through it all.”
#3 A little goes a long way
“As a woman in modern Singapore, I feel that the best way to empower other women in our daily lives is to support them in any way. It could be the littlest gesture of asking an FDW how their day went, a ‘thank you’ to the pantry lady, or a gratitude card to your co-worker.”
#4 Support your helper
“Employers play a big role. For starters, they are responsible for the health and well-being of their helper, and should provide Sundays as their mandatory day-off,” Ida advises.
“Have open lines of communication as well, where both employers and helpers can share their feedback and feelings towards each other, and give them an opportunity to grow and learn.”
#5 Share your wisdom, talents and gifts
One thing that’s sure to show them how much you care is to spend quality time with them.
“With your help and support, you can fund-raise or donate to Aidha here,” Ida points out.
“The classes that we run on Sundays at the UWC Dover campus are all taught by volunteers, and we organise a Volunteer Orientation almost every month to recruit more volunteers. If you are interested to volunteer, you can register here.”
Who knows? You might also learn a lot about yourself in the process (which is always a good thing). 😊
For more information on Aidha, you can follow them on Facebook and Instagram. Their admin office is at 748A North Bridge Road, Singapore 198716, tel: +65 6341 5287. Their Sunday campus is at United World College SEA Dover, 1207 Dover Road, Singapore 139654, tel: +65 9789 4041.