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.


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!

Every Mother’s Day, we recognise women’s incredible strength and resilience. This year, we highlight the story of a single mother who is working hard to carve a better life for her two children.

Meet Cherry, a participant on YWCA’s Empowering Mums and English Club programme. At 27, she took a leap of faith to leave Vietnam to marry a Singaporean and start a new life here. But little did she know that her journey would take some unexpected turns.


A Living Nightmare

Three years into the marriage, Cherry courageously separated from her husband to protect herself from spousal abuse. It was a harrowing experience that she remembers to this day.

With no one to turn to in an unfamiliar land, Cherry and her two children sought refuge in a shelter for victims of spousal abuse for over a year.  She eked a living out of waiting tables at a fast-food restaurant but had barely enough for her own necessities.

However, Cherry never gave up on her dreams of having a place to call home. With hard work and perseverance, she went on to secure an HDB rental flat, with the hopes of creating a loving home for her children and rebuilding their lives. Her children needed this. Her daughter was entering adolescence and her young son had special needs that required a lot of her attention. She was their only pillar of support.

Under the weight of her responsibilities as a single mother, Cherry found work as a part-time sales representative to support her family. With a low basic salary, Cherry had to rely on commissions for more income. Without a good command of English, she had difficulty conversing with her customers and increasing sales income.

Exacerbating her financial worries was her daughter’s non-subsidized school fees due to her ‘Dependent Pass’ status. The high fees drained most of her salary and Cherry was not able to sustain her family.

Cherry knew that if she wanted a better income, she had to upskill and improve her command of English. She sought help from her social worker who then introduced her to YWCA’s Women Empowerment programmes and signed up for our Empowering Mums as well as English Club programmes.

A New Harvest with English Club

At the YWCA English Club, Cherry received 1-to-1 coaching from volunteer tutors who were trained to teach according to the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) standards. YWCA’s curriculum was designed to be relevant to participants, to help them gain control of their lives through English-speaking abilities.

YWCA English Club participant (Cherry) is guided by a volunteer.

A volunteer guides Cherry during an English Club session

So far, the 10-week-long free English course has been practical and useful for Cherry. “I am grateful for the programme as it has helped improve my speech and writing skills,” she says.

Cherry appreciates the patience and kindness of volunteers who take time off work to help her. She enjoys the lessons and uses what she has learned for work and to socialise.

Furthermore, the English Club empowers women to carve a better living for themselves. In Cherry’s case, learning to communicate better has helped her have an easier time promoting products that suit her clients. Thus, giving her an opportunity to earn more commissions to supplement her income.

When asked what she liked about the English course, Cherry shared that she now has a support group with the other Mums in the programme. Meeting mums from similar backgrounds made her realise she was not alone in her struggles and encouraged her on her journey as a single mum.

With renewed hope, Cherry now dreams of starting her own business in the beauty industry. YWCA is so excited to be supporting our power-mum Cherry in her vision to bring a better life for herself and her children. Cherry, thank you for being an inspiring SuperMum!

About the YWCA English Club

The YWCA English Club is a free English course aimed at empowering low-income mums with foundational English skills to boost their self-esteem and employability. The programme promotes a supportive and inclusive environment where participants learn from volunteer tutors in a safe space.

The programme covers five proficiency levels of learning according to the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) standards. Various learning tools and activities ensure an engaging experience to cater to different learning styles and interests.

2-hour classes are held with trained volunteers. To further support mums on this programme, childminding services are provided on a needs basis with reading and play elements to engage children.

Join Us in Supporting Our Causes

The YWCA of Singapore plans to expand our English Club programme to reach more mums and women in need.

If you know someone who might benefit from our free english course, please contact sandralim@ywca.org.sg to register interest.

Alternatively, click here to donate, or here to volunteer with us.