When Sophia Cooke, a British missionary, founded the Young Women’s Christian Association of Singapore (YWCA) in 1875, she created a ripple which continues to grow and touch the lives of women in Singapore today. Sharing the vision of the original namesake movement from England, the Association’s mission was to advance the development of women in mind, body, and spirit.

As Singapore became more industrialised and women became more educated, more women began entering the workforce. The YWCA saw that much of a woman’s needs revolve around their families, and in particular, their children. The Association then pioneered the first-of-its-kind childcare services in the country to help working mothers integrate back into the workforce.

Therein began a new era of outreach for the YWCA. The ripple continued.

      1. Creating access to quality childcare and early childhood education
      2. Enhancing inclusion and educational support for children
      3. Addressing physiological needs
      4. Empowering disadvantaged children with holistic after school care programmes
      5. Supporting children and youths through life-giving workshops


YWCA believes that all children, regardless of their financial standing and backgrounds should have the opportunity and resources to realise their full potential. 


Creating access to quality childcare and early childhood education

YWCA pioneered the childcare concept with a humble mission- to help alleviate women’s caregiving responsibilities and provided them with peace of mind at work, while their children received an education. Since 1960, YWCA’s childcare centres have not only focused on providing affordable and reliable service for mothers, but they have gone the extra mile to ensure that the education children receive at the centres are effective and of good standard.

Today, these childcare centres, which have been rebranded to YWCA Preschool, still stays true to its original purpose. As an appointed Partner-Operator by the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA), YWCA Preschool has improved access to funding, thus enabling it to keep school fees to the minimum so that most families in Singapore will be able to afford them.

Despite the minimal school fees, YWCA Preschool ensures that its teacher-to-student ratio is kept low so that there could be high quality interactions between teachers and students. A low ratio not only allows teachers more time to focus on each student but also reduces a pressing issue in the teaching profession today- burnout.

I firmly believe that children thrive in a caring environment. This is why I always watch the tone of voice I use with them. I also make special effort to nurture their self-esteem by creating opportunities for them to try new things and discover their strengths so that they may gain confidence in their potential.
– Senior Teacher Mrs Sive, YWCA Preschool @ Bedok


In addition, YWCA Preschool’s proprietary curriculum, StoryJoy™, is regularly refreshed to ensure that children receive a quality education that is holistic, relevant, and effective. StoryJoy™ provides an integrated learning approach using storybooks to make lessons lively, engaging, and relatable. Using the Ministry of Education’s (MOE) Nurturing Early Learners (NEL) framework as a guide, the curriculum focuses on 6 learning areas; Language and Literacy, Social and Emotional Development, Motor Skills Development, Discovery of the World, Numeracy, and Aesthetics and Creative Expression.

YWCA Preschool today

Enhancing inclusion and educational support for children

In 2004, YWCA saw that children with mild learning difficulties could benefit from a mainstream education if they had access to professional care and support in the learning environment. Thus, an early intervention department, the Educational Support Unit (ESU), then the first of its kind, was established to address the need for such services.

ESU has since evolved into today’s Inclusive Preschool Programme (IPP). In this programme, children are provided 1-to-1 intervention sessions and in-class support by a qualified team of transdisciplinary Learning Support Educators to ensure that they assimilate well into the natural learning environment. The educators also use effective and proven methods from psychology and therapy to provide early intervention to a wide range of learning difficulties.

Integrating children with mild learning difficulties into the mainstream learning environment not only helps them achieve their full potential but will also help them feel more accepted in their communities. Meanwhile, children who are not in the programme learn to be accepting of differences and diversity, and benefit from the virtues of compassion and inclusion.


Addressing physiological needs

YWCA believes that no one, especially children, should have to go to bed hungry.

In 2006, YWCA launched the Meals-on-Wheels (MOW) programme for children from low-income families to provide them with free nutritious dinners from Monday to Friday. These meals ensure that children have the nutrients they need for healthy growth in their formative years and their families do not have to worry about putting food on the table for them. Today, Meals-on-Wheels for Children has continued to serve more than 120 children a year.

Our Meals-on-Wheels Children receiving nutritious food delivered to their doorstep.
Meals-on-Wheels for Children


Additionally, YWCA is one of the few social service agencies in Singapore that provide special items like children’s milk powder and diapers to low-income families through our Sustenance for Families programme. This programme helps alleviate financial burdens by providing families with basic sustenance and care needs.


Milk tins and diapers for disadvantaged children
Diapers and milk powder for disadvantaged children

Empowering disadvantaged children with holistic after school care programmes

YWCA believes that all children, regardless of their financial standing and backgrounds should have the opportunity and resources to realise their full potential.

Through our Meals-on-Wheels (MOW) outreach, YWCA found that many of our MOW beneficiaries were latch-key children who were left unattended at home as their parents worked to make ends meet. During these important formative years, they often did not have the supervision nor the access to resources that could make a difference to their growth and long-term success.

Thus, in 2016, YWCA set up the Kids’ Weekday Care (KWC) programme to address the need for a holistic after school care programme. Running every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, the thrice weekly programme covers two-way transport from school, halal lunch and a structured care schedule at a highly subsidised rate.

Beyond an after school care service, the KWC also provides socioemotional, moral, and academic support to beneficiary children by creating a rewarding and conducive environment to develop their character, discover their self-worth and unique potential, and strive for excellence. It gives them access to activities that include tutoring, mentorship, enrichment, workshops, outings and group work. It also allows mentors the opportunity to identify and address bullying issues and serves as a safe space for children to share, find social support, and have someone to intervene.

Through this programme, YWCA has provided outreach to more than 120 children over the last 5 years, with faithful support from our volunteers and corporate partners.

Picture of our KWC beneficiaries
Kids’ Weekday Care Children

Supporting  children and youths through life-giving workshops

Since 2012, YWCA’s Workz-on-Wheels (WoW) has been working closely with our community partners and institutions to provide outreach to disadvantaged children and at-risk youths from age 5 to 19 by equipping them with essential life skills to manage their own cognitive and socio-emotional needs for life adjustments.

With support from our volunteers and corporate partners, WoW workshops are carefully tailored to fit each group’s needs. Topics include Anger Management, Stress Management, and Emotional Health, Resiliency, among others. Each session is fun and engaging and provides a safe space for open sharing.

To ensure the effectiveness of the programme, each session of WoW encompasses a feedback system to enable facilitators to update our partners about each participant’s progress. The open communication channels have also been proven helpful in identifying alarming issues such as abuse and self-harm and creates the opportunity for early intervention.

Our Workz-on-Wheels participants

Salihah Amirudeen, Vice-chairman of Tiong Bahru Youth Network, one of YWCA’s close community partners, shared his thoughts on a recent programme run,” The trainer was approachable and understanding and was able to handle a group of 25 children in calmness. We have received numerous positive feedbacks from the 25 children stating that they like the workshop and they find it useful to their day-to-day situations. Most of them shared that they are able to handle stressful situations in life after the workshop.”

To date, the WoW programme has impacted over 1000 children and youths.

Join us in supporting our causes

The success of our programmes is highly dependent on the faithful support and contributions from our volunteers and donors. To find out how you can join us in these meaningful and rewarding causes, click here for individual volunteer opportunities, or here to donate.

To enquire about corporate partnerships, get in touch with us at ywcavolunteer@ywca.org.sg.