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Every Mother’s Day, we recognise women’s incredible strength and resilience. This year, we highlight the story of two mothers who share extraordinary zeal for their children.

Mothers are benevolent. They will do what they must to secure a better life for their kids, even enduring hardship, abuse and uncertainty.

English Club students – Anna & Kim

Anna says, “As mothers, we’re not afraid of most things, but we worry about things that will affect our family and children.”

Anna is a YWCA Empowering Mums programme graduate and is currently enrolled in YWCA’s English Club; a free English course based on the International English Language Testing (IELTS) standards. Her classmate, Kim, is also a student in our English Club.

The Vietnamese-born mothers learn the basics of English and practice speaking on Thursdays with volunteers. English Club is a 10-week course uniquely catered to mothers to equip them with English language skills to improve their integration into the local community and access to employment opportunities. It is also where mothers can find a community to belong to and a support network among friends with similar backgrounds.

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Courage To Press On

It is no easy choice for women to leave a familiar life and marry someone in a foreign land. Worse yet, for a marriage that may become sour, leaving women to fend for themselves.

But for Anna and Kim, their situation is far from foreign – they suffer due to familial violence or marital neglect. Anna eventually moved on from her marriage to escape the violence and shifted to a transitional shelter with her kids, which they shared with strangers.

The mothers’ courage to press on is commendable. Even more so when they courageously do what is best for their little ones, often forgoing their own needs and insecurities. “I have no more tears to cry. I just want what’s best for my kids,” says Anna.

Anna after an English Club class


Resilience To Define Their Lives

While these mothers may not be able to control their environments, they have the resilience to bounce back from adverse circumstances and work towards a better life.

Kim and an English Club volunteer

Right now, Anna and Kim’s priority is to improve their command of the English language. However, they must juggle several things, including caring for their household single-handedly, managing work that can often have infrequent or meagre incomes, and taking care of their mental well-being. Juggling these things is a delicate balance for them, where a single inconvenience can disrupt their study of English.

These are everyday stresses among women facing transition.

Their children are also nearing a foundational stage of their lives at age 7 – widely regarded for how children will communicate and interact with the world by processing how they’re being responded to.

Therefore, knowing how to communicate in Singapore’s most common language of business—English—is of utmost importance to the mothers and their children.


Hoping For Brighter Future

Despite the odds Anna and Kim face, they’re determined to press on. Anna believes it will help her improve her job prospects.

Anna & Kim practicing English with a volunteer

Her tenacity to learn shines through her eagerness for the next level of English Club. This path of improvement could open more doorways for her to become better at her job and thus a better life for her kids. Anna also dreams of learning more about different coffee types worldwide and eventually starting her own shop one day.

Kim hopes to use her newfound language skills to better communicate with her family and enable her kids to excel in their young lives.

What a love that mothers have for their children!


Celebrate Mothers

This Mother’s Day, we celebrate mothers in the community who dare change the status quo, mothers who define their lives by their resilience, and mothers who hope for a brighter future for their children and themselves.

We at YWCA note your courage, resilience and hope.

Thank you, mothers, for being the pillar of love in your family and children’s lives. You are not forgotten!


Bringing A Community Together

At YWCA, we serve women, children, and the elderly through community services so that they can lead empowered lives.

However, it is no small task to bring about change, but every small step makes this a reality.

Only through community and the coming together of many hands have we been able to do what we have done for close to 150 years.

While we already see a community of like-minded women joining hands as volunteers, staff, partners, and beneficiaries for the common cause of empowering women, you can still play a part.

Join us as a volunteer, donor or collaborator today!

Her hands slightly trembling but her face resolute, Fathima, a mother of two, sat down for our interview as she will graduate from the 10-week-long YWCA Empowering Mums programme with 6 other mums today.

It is a big day for these mums as they have undergone several workshops designed to empower them and prepare them for the next step in their back-to-work journey.

We first met Fathima in August 2023 when we were delivering dry rations for our Sustenance for Families programme. Shy and speaking only in short sentences back then, Fathima now radiates confidence, a testament to the progress she’d tirelessly worked for.

You’ll be surprised at the difference in demeanour and candour. We’re proud of her confidence in communicating her thoughts and feelings. It is truly impressive!

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From ‘No, I cannot’ to ‘Yes, I can!’

As we continued our conversation, she excitedly tells us how she can ‘handle all things just by sitting down to think’ and that she now ‘knows where to find help’. Her enthusiasm is infectious! (We can’t help but break into a smile as we recall our conversation.)
 

“Come to learn. Learn about yourself and learn how to solve problems! You will become confident.”
 
– Fathima

 
What stood out were the lessons learnt and exemplified in Fathima’s life – She doesn’t let stresses or worries upset her. Instead, she works through situations in a calm and collected manner. She even told us that her daughter loves the positive change she sees. Fathima expresses that ‘every problem has a solution’. What a powerful mindset!

Fathima with her daughter


A Community of Women Empowering Women

The Empowering Mums programme brought together a group of initially unfamiliar faces, including Fathima, Amirah, and Rasidah. The trainers and partners, some mothers themselves, nurtured this group into a supportive community. The lessons learned in the workshops went beyond hard skills; they included building bonds, overcoming negativity, and fostering personal growth.
 

“Push yourself to attend the workshops. Though you may feel overwhelmed by situations – whether your kids falling sick or having to attend school events, or even waking up early to attend the course. Do your best to make it because it is worth it!”
 
– Amirah

 
Amirah, who discovered YWCA through HCSA Spin, found a community where like-minded individuals supported and related to each other. The safe space allowed them to share problems openly in a safe space. Amirah, once introverted, now beams with self-confidence. She’s learnt to speak up without fear, dress better, and face interviews with newfound assurance.

For Rasidah, this was a journey of stress management and positive change. The community helped process thoughts, and shared experiences became a source of encouragement.

Beyond the programme, Amirah and Rasidah are planning to embark on a weight loss journey together, emphasizing accountability, friendship, and mutual motivation. Their post-graduation plans include maintaining their support network and even exploring the YWCA English Club programme together!

Amirah

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Empowering Mums Graduation

Our mums about to enter the graduation hall!

10 weeks of introspection, learning and forging bonds have passed, leading our Empowering Mums course participants to this very moment of graduation. They have gained skills in Emotional Intelligence, Mindfulness and Financial Literacy. And best of all? They’re ready to take on more of Life’s challenges.

A sense of excitement and anticipation filled the air as these remarkable women, radiating confidence and dressed in their finest, readied themselves to step onto the stage.

Entering Peace Room with heads held high, our graduates took the stage, recounting their personal stories of struggle, resilience, and ultimate triumph.

Their speeches reverberated with passion and inspiration, holding the audience in attention.
 

“You will become confident. Believe that you can change your life!”
 
– Rasidah

 
As the last words echoed, a thunderous applause erupted, evolving into a heartfelt standing ovation—a collective acknowledgment of the courage and resilience displayed by these women. Surveying the applauding crowd, our graduates felt an overwhelming surge of pride and accomplishment washing over them.

Our Empowering Mums graduates embracing their children

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EM7 Employer’s Meet-and-Greet

The YWCA EM7 Employer’s Meet-and-Greet session was organised to help candidates find suitable employment opportunities. Established organisations like NTUC, Bata, Accor and Alexandra Hospital were among some of our partners offering flexible work arrangements, incentives, and on-the-job training to support these mums.

Employer's Meet-and-Greet

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About Empowering Mums programme

The Empowering Mums project equips back-to-work mums from low-income families with life and work skills to improve their employability from a holistic view.

The project runs free support group work and employability skills workshops over 10 weeks, culminating with a professional makeover, graduation ceremony and meet-and-greet session with potential employers.

After graduation, six monthly post-project sessions are held to further support mothers on their journey of self-driven change.

Throughout the sessions, meals, transport and childminding (for children above 2 years old) are provided to participating mothers so they can attend with a peace of mind.


The Impact of Empowering Mums programme

Giving marginalised women the tools and resources they require to advance will encourage a generation of strong, tenacious women who can guide and motivate their families and communities. It also illustrates the role the YWCA can play in empowering and supporting women in our local community.


Special Thanks

The Empowering Mum 7 programme would not have been made possible without the support from our sponsors, content and community partners. Thank you for your faithful support!

Our community partners

Partners:

manulife

Content Partners:

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Support Us

We hope to support and uplift more women into discovering their true potential and helping them find employability through our Empowering Mums project.

If this cause resonates with you and you would like to support, click here to volunteer, or click here to donate.

If you would like to contribute as a partner or sponsor future projects, please contact us at csp@ywca.org.sg.