Every International Women’s Day, YWCA celebrates women from diverse backgrounds and upholds their achievements and progress so that we can continue to inspire and encourage more positive advancement for all women in Singapore. This year, we invited our newly appointed Executive Director, Ong Puay See, who took the helm to lead YWCA in October 2023, to share her thoughts on this year’s International Women’s Day.

Puay See joined YWCA in 2022 as Deputy Executive Director.  She has close to 30 years of experience in the financial industry and in government and not-for-profit institutions. She was the CEO of The Institute of Banking & Finance and previously Director with Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).  She was awarded the Public Administration Medal (Bronze) in 2014, for her contributions to the Singapore public service. She is an active volunteer with the Methodist Church in Singapore (MCS) and currently sits on the Board of Communications of the Chinese Annual Conference.  She graduated with a degree in Bachelor of Accountancy (Honours) with Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. A mother of a teenage daughter, Puay See is a cancer survivor, having battled breast cancer in 2016, and regularly volunteers her time to journey with breast cancer warriors.  She serves on Christian Women Fellowship groups, and is also a Special Needs Sunday School Teacher at the Telok Ayer Chinese Methodist Church where she worships.



I visited Stanford University in 2015 and enjoyed a wonderful art exhibition on wartime posters. I was particularly captivated by this poster from the YWCA. The powerful taglines, “For Every Fighter, a Woman Worker” struck me on the impact of the YWCA in building a nation. The Young Women’s Christian Associations (YWCA) all over the world have always been instrumental in rallying women to stand up and be counted, to serve and contribute, especially in times of need. During wartime, when men were called to serve in the military, women had to step forward to take over roles vacated by men at the factories and offices. When YWCA was first birthed in England in 1855, Emma Roberts and Lady Kinnaird were concerned about young girls leaving their families to work in the cities and nurses working in hospitals without a safe space to stay, and the YWCA was established to be a community of women supporting these young girls.

It was the same ideology that led to the birth of YWCA Singapore in 1875. Whether in educating women with skills to keep them relevant for the needs of the different times, providing hostel services to keep young women safe, or childcare facilities so housewives could return to the workforce, YWCA Singapore has always been a catalyst in ensuring that women were given opportunities and moving ahead. 

This International Women’s Day calls to mind our heritage as a women’s charity, championing for women the last 149 years. This year’s International Women’s Day celebrates the theme “Inspire Inclusion”, where we celebrate the empowerment of women from different social, economic, cultural backgrounds. It is a call for us to break down barriers, challenge stereotypes, and create environments where all women are valued and respected. #InspireInclusion encourages all to recognize the unique perspectives and contributions of women from all walks of life, including those from marginalized communities.

I am so proud to be part of this strong women heritage in YWCA.  And even prouder that the YWCA of Singapore today reflects #InspireInclusion in our DNA.  We have Empowering Mums and Empowering Young Women programmes to allow women from marginalized backgrounds an opportunity to get a leg up in life.  Over the years, we have built up a strong community of women volunteers and supporters who come onboard as Board or Committee Ladies to develop programmes to help the community. Some work as ground volunteers to distribute food, develop training or teach English.  Many of our ladies roll up their sleeves to fundraise through their passions: cooking yummy foods or selling beautiful crafts. Our annual YWCA fundraising carnivals are such happy events!  Many of these ladies are remarkable in their daily roles as daughters, sisters, mothers, employees or leaders and they embody our YWCA spirit of “By Love, Serve One Another”.

This International Women’s Day, I would like to give a big shout-out to the beautiful women who form part of our loving YWCA community. You ladies inspire me everyday! Continue to #InspireInclusion.

By Love, Serve One Another

God bless you all!


Ong Puay See

Meet Ms. Sim Hwee Hoon, the newly elected President of YWCA of Singapore for the new term of office for 2023/2024. With an extensive career in banking and finance, Hwee Hoon brings a wealth of corporate experience, having previously held C-suite positions at various private banks.  She currently sits on the Boards of the Singapore Labour Foundation, NTUC Income and is Independent Director for Stashaway, and a Senior Advisor at Singapore Consultancy Pte Ltd.

Hwee Hoon’s dedication to community work is a testament to her commitment to serving in YWCA.  Since joining YWCA in 2016, she has been serving on various YWCA Committees and on the Board.  Hwee Hoon often rolls up her sleeves to serve on the ground as a coach and mentor to our Empowering Mums, volunteers her time at our English Club and has also been seen serving our guests at our YWCA Fort Canning social enterprise.  Hwee Hoon truly embodies the YWCA motto of by love, serve one another” and has been empowering and uplifting the lives of others.


Q: Congratulations on your election as the President of the YWCA of Singapore. How do you feel being elected as the President?

A: I’m excited and humbled at the opportunity to serve the YWCA in the capacity of President. At the same time, there is also some apprehension, given the increase in responsibility and expectations. But I know I have our Lord to teach me to do His will, and let His good Spirit lead me on level ground. (Psalm 143:10)


Q: Now that you are the President, what are your hopes and plans for the YWCA?

A: YWCA Singapore has a long and illustrious history of serving the community in Singapore. My hope is for YWCA to continue to stay relevant and be future-oriented, but still remain steadfast to our mission and vision. As a charity, it is not just about doing good, but we must do well and be effective. We need to constantly scan the horizon for both challenges and opportunities and build capabilities to meet the needs of the future so that the work we do impacts not only the lives of our beneficiaries but creates a ripple effect that positively influences the lives of the community as a whole.

As we serve the community, my hope is also that YWCA will be an organisation that supports the growth and development of not only the staff but also the volunteers who commit their time to us.


Q: How did you end up at the YWCA, and what made you stay for the last 7+ years?

A: (My husband and I) came back to Singapore after spending almost 20 years in Hong Kong. I wanted to reconnect and serve the community here, so I reached out to Centre for Non-profit Leadership (CNPL) for matching to suitable non-profit organisations. Once they heard that I was in the private banking industry, they were keen to match me with organisations that needed expertise in finance or fundraising, which I wasn’t keen on! In the end, they passed me a list of organisations to review myself. YWCA caught my attention because it is about women of the Christian faith coming together to serve, and I’m passionate about women’s causes.

I’m grateful that Mavis (the President then) and Yee Ping (Executive Director) gave me the space to explore where I would like to volunteer in. They knew I didn’t want to focus on finance and allowed me to contribute to the YWCA Fort Canning and Community Services committees, even though I had no subject matter expertise in those areas! I also enjoyed the volunteering opportunities on the ground (e.g. Empowering Mums, English Club, coaching for staff). These sessions gave me the opportunity to interact with the beneficiaries and staff, to listen and understand the challenges on the ground, so that I can better help shape the strategic direction at the committee and board level.

That’s a key reason why I’ve stayed on with YWCA. At the YWCA, I was given the space to learn and grow, and it has been a meaningful journey for me. I also greatly treasure the camaraderie among the board and committee members, most of whom are women of Christian faith, committed to serving together. Over the years, I’ve seen so many incidents of unwarranted grace from God at the YWCA. He has provided and guided us time and time again through challenges.


Q: Can you share with us some of the causes you are most passionate about?

A: I mentioned earlier that I’m passionate about empowering women. If we can help women lift themselves to live safe, fulfilled and productive lives, they can in turn improve the lives of their children and family. I believe that those who are in a position to make a difference should step up to do so. Be the voice for those who don’t have, and support those who fall through the cracks.

Ms Sim (left), together with our English Club graduate 


Q: How do you hope to make a difference in the YWCA community?

A: This is not about me making a difference individually as a YWCA President. I trust that God will grant me wisdom and discernment to bring together everyone (board/committee members, staff and volunteers), to be aligned in our values to work towards a shared purpose for the YWCA. As God’s steward, it is our responsibility to ensure accountability and transparency at all levels. We need to communicate clearly the steps needed to execute our vision and mission effectively and measure our impact on the community. I hope that as a Board, we will all lead by example and embody values in our actions and decisions to create a positive environment that promotes trust, respect, collaboration, and innovation.


Q: Tell us a little about yourself and your family? What are your hobbies or favourite past-time?

A: My family is just me and hubby, and I treasure spending family time with my parents, nieces and nephew. I love to seek refuge and “forest bath” in our nature parks. During Covid, I have hiked the perimeters of the Singapore island twice over. My passion also includes photography, and admiring God’s incredible handiwork in nature when travelling overseas.

Ms Sim basking in nature’s glory while on her holiday 


Q: What is your favourite food at the YWCA Café Lodge that you will recommend for our readers to try?

A: The laksa is an all-time favourite for my family. My comfort food is fish noodle soup and I always go for their oriental breakfast set when I have a breakfast meeting. I miss their curry fish head and hope they will bring it back in the near future.


Q: Finally, what message do you have for the young women who are reading this article?

A: Be open to new experiences and have the courage to pursue your passions. Identify what truly excites and motivates you. When you find joy in what you do, it becomes easier to overcome challenges and see them as opportunities.

Lift and empower other women around you. Support them, celebrate their milestones and be a champion for their success. We all can be in a position to make an impact, no matter how small. The more we support one another, the larger the ripple effect.

Thank you, Ms Sim, for your inspiring words!

The inclusive culture creates good vibes in our preschool environment, and everyone enjoys coming to work.”
—Mdm Ho Mee Khuen


In this month’s Staff Spotlight, we speak to Mdm Ho Mee Khuen, one of our longest-serving staff with YWCA Preschool. Mdm Ho has served YWCA for 40 years and is currently the Centre Leader at YWCA Preschool @ Pasir Ris. We ask her about her journey with YWCA and to share with us her thoughts about the workplace culture and team dynamics.


Q: Tell us about your journey with YWCA Preschool. How did it start, and what is one thing you like about working at YWCA?

A: I started my career as a teacher aide before going through courses, from foundation certificates to a diploma and a degree. I started working at Marine Drive and was transferred to Bedok, and then eventually to Pasir Ris to set up the centre with the Centre Leader. It was at Pasir Ris that I was promoted to Senior Teacher. In September 1999, I was promoted to Centre Leader.

I like the culture in my centre, especially the diversity, teamwork and respect we have for each other. We do not impose our religious beliefs on our colleagues. For instance, when our Muslim colleague is fasting, we empathise and help to conduct physical exercises on her behalf, and we try not to plan field trips during the fasting month. The inclusive culture creates good vibes in our preschool environment, and everyone enjoys coming to work.


Q: Of YWCA Preschool’s 4 core values– Compassion, Competence, Confidence Respect — which resonate with you the most?

A: Respect.

I believe that mutual respect creates a positive work environment and motivates staff to increase their productivity and collaboration. When the staff feel respected, it boosts their self-esteem, and they will show the same amount of respect for others.

Teaching a class of young children 


Q: What are some of the biggest challenges or obstacles you have faced in your role?

A: Manpower management, recruiting teachers and staff.


Q:  What is the most exciting thing you are working on right now?

A: Working towards SPARKS re-certification. SPARKS re-certification is essential for our centre as this will enhance our preschool’s image and motivate our staff. 


Q:  How do you empower teachers to be leaders and role models for the children?

A: Delegate duties according to the teacher’s capabilities and skills and send teachers for professional development courses. I’ll always remind my teachers to lead by example and show care, love, and concern to the children so they can learn these behaviours from them.


Working closely with families 


Q: How do you build a positive school culture?

A: Listen to the voices of the teachers and encourage and motivate them when needed. Giving staff a flexible schedule for work will enable them to manage their commitments effectively.

To motivate the staff, allow them to work at their own pace while meeting their deadlines and goals. Trust that your staff will do great and try not to micromanage them.


Q:  What would you do at YWCA Preschool to ensure team success?

A: I value my team, and I explain how we can work together to ensure everyone is working towards the same goal. It is helpful to set specific goals to ensure everyone understands their role. It is also helpful to break complicated tasks into smaller components and assign staff to complete them according to their strengths. I will schedule regular checks with my staff and discuss their progress and difficulties.


Q:  What vision do you have for YWCA Preschool and your students? 

A: My vision for YWCA Preschool is to grow our Inclusive Preschool Programme and empower our children to develop holistically by equipping them with life skills. On top of that, I would also like positively impact each child by making sure all children have the opportunity to learn and grow, reach their potential, and become moral people.


Q: In your opinion, what qualities should a good leader possess?

A: A leader should be supportive, encouraging, and able to guide and motivate a team. They should be a role model and delegate tasks to the most appropriate staff based on their strength and knowledge while sharing their expertise and knowledge with their team, giving employees autonomy and ownership over their work.

A good leader is a good communicator, so her team is clear on the goals and will know what exactly is expected from them.   She is also an active listener, open-minded and able to accept ideas and suggestions from her team. She is patient, empathetic and dependable and supports her team emotionally.

A leader is also a trusted person with whom her team can build a meaningful working relationship and share without hesitation.


We thank Mdm Ho for her dedication towards her work, her commitment to our organisation and her passion for nurturing young children. We hope that in the years to come, her work will continue to be a blessing towards her colleagues, as well as the children and parents at YWCA Preschool.

At YWCA of Singapore, we believe that people are our greatest asset. It is the driving force that keeps our organisation going. Whether you are an educator, a service staff, or a support executive, every employee contributes to fulfilling the YWCA mission of outreach and empowering the lives of others.

Join our YWCA family today! Email us at hr@ywca.org.sg to find out more or click here to apply.

“If they can’t learn the way we teach, then we should teach the way they learn.”
– Lee Miao Pei, Learning Support Educator


Indeed, it takes a big heart to shape little minds. Here at YWCA Preschool, we are very proud of our dedicated team of transdisciplinary Learning Support Educators who provide an inclusive, supportive and conducive environment for children with learning difficulties.

Our Learning Support Educator, Ms. Lee Miao Pei shares more about her work and passion for helping every child reach their full potential and feel accepted in their communities, no matter how they break the mould.



Q: Tell us about your journey as a Learning Support Educator. How did it start and what made you choose to be a Learning Support Educator for children with developmental needs?

I started working as a therapist for young children with developmental needs after graduating from university. In that role, I witnessed many positive changes in young children with developmental needs after they attended intensive one-to-one interventions, and these sessions helped them to enter mainstream schools.

I was also given the chance to shadow some of them in mainstream schools and that was when I realised that without someone providing more attention and assistance to the children with developmental needs, it will be very challenging for both the teachers and child to manage within a mainstream setting.

Hence, I decided to try and be the ‘bridge’ between these children and their mainstream counterparts in the hopes that they can be integrated successfully!


Q: What do you enjoy most about your role?

It is very fulfilling to see children with developmental needs achieve as much as their counterparts!


learning support educator teaching sorting

Teaching a child to sort colours with bean bags


Q: What are the biggest challenges or obstacles you have faced in your role?

While it is great that we have Learning Support Educators who can consistently provide weekly intervention and support, having more educators around these children and providing them with more attention within the mainstream classes would be very beneficial for them.

Oftentimes, we want to accept more children into our program but are unable to do so due to limited manpower resources. Our waitlist is long, but because of manpower shortage in this area, it is difficult for us to bring in more children who can benefit from our integration programmes.

Therefore, I would say that my biggest challenge or obstacle is the lack of manpower to help carry out strategies in mainstream classes for these children, as it is not easy to hire educators nowadays.


Q: How do you keep yourself going in the face of all these challenges?

Firstly, seeing the children improve bit by bit motivates me.

Secondly, having understanding and capable colleagues inspires me to do better and allows me to think of ways to help ease their load in class.

Lastly, I try to ‘switch off’ after work to give myself a break so that I can achieve better results and clarity when I return to work.


Q: How do you try to integrate children with developmental needs in the mainstream classes and that all the children are kept equally engaged during the lessons?

I use a lot of concrete and visual representations to signify how much the children have to do so that they also have an idea of what to expect. For example, I implement token systems when children do their work, or timers to count down the time. Sometimes, I sit in with them during their lessons so that I can provide repetitions or break down the information teachers are bringing across in class. Behaviour charts also help these children better understand what is required of them, especially during large group lessons.

As for the teachers, it can be challenging for them to focus on a few specific children when they have so many to care for during the lesson, so they would help the child to catch up during downtime periods.

It is also important to integrate the children socially and hence, I may ask their peers to initiate play with them and facilitate to help ‘promote’ their relationships. Teachers do that too as well.


Q: What are the misconceptions or misunderstandings about children with developmental needs that you have come across that you would like to address?

I think that there is a misconception that children with developmental needs avoid work, or in layman terms, are deemed as being lazy. Very often, these children behave in such a way as the lesson is not delivered in a way that is suitable for them. Many children are visual learners so if the teachers only educate without visualization, it will be difficult for these children to absorb any information.

As for children with higher needs, I think a misunderstanding is that they do not communicate and hence just throw tantrums. However, it is not that they do not want to communicate, it is that they really do not know how to and will need to be explicitly taught.

They may have also learnt that crying gets them attention. Therefore, we should teach them effective ways of communication that works for them. For example, we would use pictures to communicate if a child is unable to speak.

If you are unable to express yourself all the time to get your needs and wants satisfied, you would get upset too, right?


learning support educator sand therapy

Using sand tray therapy to help the child practice his pre-writing strokes


Q: How do you think we can help to make society more inclusive for children with developmental needs?

There should be more training for people who are interested in assisting in classes with children with developmental needs. With more assistant teachers in classes, teachers would be able to carry out their teaching plans and these assistant teachers can help put in place strategies that the Learning Support Educator has for the children with developmental needs. With more manpower within a single classroom, more time and attention can be given to the children with developmental needs.

As a society, we should also be more willing to accept them and not look at them through a different set of lenses. Educating the public to be more accepting is also essential in building an inclusive society.


Q: Do you have any advice for parents of children with developmental needs?

I have utmost respect for the parents of children with developmental needs. (Not to say I don’t for other parents!)

Being here in YWCA Preschool Singapore has allowed me to see the struggles that these parents face, even in basic needs like getting a school placement for their child. They may face multiple rejections, but they always get back up and try again. And if they get accepted, they will then have to work much harder to bridge the gaps between their child and their peers.

My advice for them is to always celebrate the little things that their child achieves and never give up! Also, where possible, sending them to extra therapy services may provide additional help in their progress!


Q: What are your biggest takeaways from your journey as a Learning Support Educator?

Learning Support Educators can definitely help close the gap between children with developmental needs and typically developing children. With the extra time and effort put into the children with developmental needs, we can help ease the teachers’ workload on specific children. The children also help themselves become better day by day.


Miao Pei has provided us wonderful insights into her day and career as a Learning Support Educator. It is certainly challenging, yet extremely rewarding to see her work directly impacting and positively influencing the children.


About YWCA Preschool’s Inclusive Preschool Programme

YWCA Preschool’s Inclusive Preschool Programme, formerly known as Educational Support Unit (ESU), was launched in 2004 to help integrate children with mild learning difficulties into the mainstream education system in a supportive, conducive, and nurturing environment.

Our qualified transdisciplinary Learning Support Educators work closely with parents and medical professionals to develop an Individual Education Plan (IEP) for each child and provide 1-to-1 intervention sessions using natural and multisensory techniques to ensure learning needs are being addressed.

Speak to us to find out how we can help your child reach their full potential today! Email preschoolenquiry@ywca.org.sg or call 6223 1227.


Join Us

Do you share Miao Pei’s passion in empowering children? Join us at YWCA Preschool today! Click here to apply or email us at hr@ywca.org.sg to learn more.

“I am very happy. People also very happy. I am very proud that I work at YWCA because the place I work can give and help so many people”- Dheena


Everyone can help someone.

Dheena Thayalan, one of our fellow co-workers at YWCA Fort Canning, recently went back to his hometown in Chennai and brought along donations collected from the team leaders at the office.

Dheena rallied his friends in the village of Mannargudi to help prepare hot meals, buy groceries, cooking utensils, water flasks, and even installed a ceiling fan for a village school. He also sent money to neighbouring towns for the poorest among the villagers and more than 200 people were blessed with the giving.

Our humble donation meant that many in his village had a full meal that day. It meant that families could fill up their rice buckets and children don’t have to go to bed hungry.

“I am very happy. People also very happy. I am very proud that I work at YWCA because the place I work can give and help so many people,” said Dheena.


A little goes a long way. We are reminded once again, that every bit helps and we can all offer someone in need a hot meal, a kind word, or a simple word of prayer.

Almost three decades ago, a zealous youth, fresh from completing her diploma stepped into YWCA Preschool @ McNair (then known as YWCA Child Development Centre) after being persuaded by a friend to help. What she didn’t know then, was how that glimpse of the Early Childhood industry would lead her to find her lifelong calling and passion in teaching children.


“Children’s responses are so unpredictable and it’s what makes teaching fun and exciting.” -Mrs Salleh


Today, Mrs Salleh, 46, is one of YWCA Preschool’s longest-serving teachers. She is a familiar face at the organisation and at our preschool at McNair and is well-known for her bubbly character and her unwavering dedication to teaching.

Indeed, Mrs Salleh’s passion for teaching stands out above all else. When asked what about the early childhood field attracts her, she said, “Children’s responses are so unpredictable and it’s what makes teaching fun and exciting. Every day I get different responses from my children and sometimes I learn from them. We are teachers, but it doesn’t mean we know everything. Children nowadays are so exposed, and we learn from one another.”

In the early childhood teaching profession, every day is full of surprises and uncertainties because of the unpredictable nature of children’s behaviours. No one day is the same and Mrs Salleh often starts the day wondering how her day will unfold and whether her lessons will go well.

“I used to question the outcome of my lesson and set certain expectations for the children. However, I came to realise that children need time to find their own footing. Instead [of questioning the outcome], I would reflect on the way I responded to my children and ensure that the tone of voice I used with them was appropriate. If I want to go home happily, definitely the children want to go home happily. Having the right tone of voice helps in getting the attention of the children and getting better outcomes,” she shares.

There is never a dull moment in Mrs Salleh’s classroom. The vivacious educator actively engages her students through lively story-telling sessions, songs and drama. We watched her teach a lesson on numeracy using a popular storybook, ‘The Very Quiet Cricket’ by Eric Carle, and were surprised at how engaging a math lesson could be. There was hardly any sign of disorder as one would expect in a room full of energetic children as her K1 class listened attentively and took part in counting storybook insects and answering math questions. It was surely satisfying to see that the children were enjoying their lesson.



Mrs Salleh believes in creating a positive learning environment for children. She defines success as the ability of children to complete tasks with confidence on their own. “It is rewarding to see a child gain confidence in completing tasks independently and showing improvement in different areas of learning. Every child is special in their own way, and as educators, we should not limit their learning capabilities, but instead, we should allow children to grow at their own pace, encourage them and let them learn to express themselves in their own way”, she added.

“Even though I might sometimes come across as firm, I believe it is good to instil good moral values in the children. Good cooperation is key to ensuring a healthy classroom environment too.” -Mrs Salleh

What happens then when a conflict between children arises in class? Mrs Salleh shares that she does not believe in becoming the mediator. “I believe that children can resolve disputes by themselves, and I will step in when I think it is necessary. They quarrel and I’ll get angry but later on, they turn around and become the best of friends again, playing happily together. Sometimes, it is better to let them decide what is the best solution to resolve a conflict,” said Mrs Salleh, jokingly.

Perhaps her reputation as a disciplinarian helps put things in order. She shares in amusement how her playful children will sometimes get up to some mischief or chit chat during nap time when she steps out of the classroom, but all will be peace and quiet as though nothing happened the moment they hear her coming back.

“Even though I might sometimes come across as firm, I believe it is good to instil good moral values in the children. Good cooperation is key to ensuring a healthy classroom environment too,” she explained.

Early childhood educators play a big role in helping parents support their children’s learning and well-being. Like all teachers at YWCA Preschool, Mrs Salleh provides frequent updates of children’s progress to parents and shares with them her observations of their child’s day in school whenever the opportunity arises.

It is not always easy, however. Mrs Salleh recalled a time when a K2 child poured his heart out to her and the entire class about his parents’ quarrels at home. The child was visibly troubled and shaken. She was deeply concerned for him and felt she could not standby and not do anything about it. Despite her best intentions, the parents did not take well to her feedback that they refrain from arguing in front of their child. “Sometimes, you tend to lose yourself in the process of helping a child. It is important to learn how to manage your emotions and to remain neutral when resolving the issue,” she added.

Mrs Salleh’s care for her children and dedication to teaching is truly an inspiration to us all. YWCA Preschool is indeed blessed to have her with us all these years.

So, what does she like about working with YWCA Preschool? “My colleagues at YWCA Preschool are open to ideas, and we constantly learn from one another. We work well together and mutually respect one another since we only have each other to depend on,” she laughed. “I am a fan of YWCA’s moral values because they helped shape me into who I am today.”


To all budding educators out there, Mrs Salleh has some final tips to share:

  • Tip 1: Manage your expectations about the role

Ask yourself what your expectation and goal as an Early Childhood Educator is. Put yourself in the shoes of a child and do not force your ideas on the children. Instead, work and learn alongside them. Teaching becomes fun and enjoyable when you start rediscovering things through their eyes. It is helpful to re-evaluate your expectations for the children and design effective strategies to bring out the best in every child.

  • Tip 2: Shower children with encouragement

Children gain confidence in learning when teachers constantly shower them with encouragement. A teacher who understands the child’s needs and makes a conscious effort to encourage them will make their learning experience more wholesome.

  • Tip 3: Model ideal behaviours and maintain good eye contact with the children

Children learn best from example, and it is essential that a teacher behaves in a way she expects children to behave. Maintaining good eye contact makes communication more effective.


YWCA Preschool is always on the lookout for passionate educators like Mrs Salleh, who are willing to make a difference in the lives of our future generations. Start a career with us today! Drop your resume off at hr@ywca.org.sg or check out our careers page for more details.

If you are a parent and would like to find out more about our enrolment process, contact us at cdcenquiries@ywca.org.sg! Also, follow us on Facebook & Instagram for some insightful tips and behind-the-scenes work at our preschools.

From zero to hero. That is how Azura, 35, a mother of two, describes her journey with YWCA’s Weaving Programme. Like many others in the programme, she started from humble beginnings, with zero knowledge of the craft and unsure of what to expect. It was something she had never imagined herself doing till circumstances led her to an opportunity to try it out. Now an expert in the craft, and with hard work and dedication, she has recently been appointed Studio Supervisor at YWCA.

A few years ago, bogged down by health issues and family commitments, Azura found herself having difficulties holding her full-time job as an administrative executive. Her Thalassemia condition causes her to be anaemic, often feeling faint at work and requiring regular blood transfusions at the hospital. In addition, her older son, now 10, not only suffers from the same genetic blood disease, but he also has Global Developmental Delay (GDD) and requires regular therapy at KK Hospital.

Without flexible work arrangements to attend to family needs and faced with a pressing need to care for her health, Azura had little choice but to leave her full-time employment. As her husband became the sole breadwinner, the hefty bills from medical treatments and therapy sessions quickly chipped away at their savings and became too much to bear. Without a means to an end, the family of four had to rely on social support to get by.

Determined to better her situation, Azura sought help from her social worker at THK Macpherson Family Service Centre (THK FSC) in February 2021 in search of flexible employment opportunities that could accommodate her constraints.

Still fresh from her memory, she recounts the time when she was with her son at Popular bookstore, and he asked if he could have the Spiderman pencil case. It cost $9.90 and was too much for her to afford. Not wanting to disappoint her son, Azura made a promise to him that she would buy it for him when she receives her first paycheck. It was on that very day she received a call from her social worker, who shared with her about the YWCA Weaving Programme. Azura describes the moment as a divine appointment, and she knew she had to seize that opportunity.

For Azura, weaving quickly became an accidental love affair. It was enjoyable and therapeutic, and she loved experimenting with a variety of colours and textures to create beautiful designs and products. Her enthusiasm for the craft stood out above all else, and her tenacity paid off as she quickly rose to the rank of Studio Supervisor.


“If you don’t try, you’ll never know. Don’t give up and just keep trying.”- Azura


As a studio supervisor with the YWCA Weaving Programme, her role requires her to prepare and facilitate workshops, train new beneficiary mums in the craft, and take inventories. These days, she even ventures into product development, creating new and unique products with her woven designs.

Aside from scarves and table runners, she has made coasters, bags, floor mats, and even a dress. Her goal? A curtain, she ambitiously declares.

A variety of products made by Azura

Undeterred by her circumstances, every workshop facilitated by Azura is filled with joy and positivity – it is almost impossible to tell the kind of hardships she has gone through. On days when some participants face difficulties and feel like throwing in the towel, she showers them with words of encouragement and patiently coaches them through the process.

She even goes the extra mile too. When a participant in a wheelchair has difficulties reaching the bobbin, she thoughtfully steps in to assist and attentively watches on.

Her efforts have certainly not gone unnoticed. Zalina, a new participant, says, “I really enjoyed today’s session. Azura was very patient and engaging. She made the lesson easy to pick up. I would like to continue these weaving sessions and learn from scratch.”

When asked how she copes with challenges at work, Azura shares that her children and her happy students are her primary sources of motivation.

“Even though there may be hiccups along the way, the positive feedback from participants makes me want to contribute more to the organisation,” she said. “When my participants enjoy the workshops, they spread the good word to the people around them.”

Guiding a participant from our Kid’s Weekday Care programme

Azura’s life has turned around since coming on board the YWCA Weaving Programme. The role provides her with a decent income and gives her the flexibility she needs. “I am now on the Home Ownership Scheme,” she beams with excitement.

Indeed, she has come a long way. From living in a 2-room rental flat to collecting the keys to her new Built-To-Order HDB flat, Azura can now afford the simple things in life that she never could in the past. Being part of the YWCA Weaving Programme has made that possible and is an opportunity that she cherishes to this very day.

Her personal mantra? “If you don’t try, you’ll never know. Don’t give up and just keep trying.”



The YWCA Weaving Programme

Like Azura, our beneficiary mothers in the weaving programme often find difficulties in committing to a full-time role because of their circumstances.

An extension of the YWCA Empowering Mums programme, the YWCA Weaving Programme aims to fill this gap by supporting mothers from disadvantaged backgrounds with a source of flexible income that could meet their needs.

In this programme, women are first trained in the unique art of freeform weaving, which they will impart to others as they conduct workshops. The training is fully sponsored by our partner, UPS, and the mums receive a salary for each training session and workshop they attend.

The workshops are open to the public, to individuals and corporations alike, and all the proceeds go back into the programme directly.

If you would like to support the programme and learn more about this unique craft, click here to join our weaving workshops. Alternatively, email ywcaent@ywca.org.sg for enquiries and corporate partnerships or call 6223 1227.


Meeting the socioemotional needs of the socially isolated

We often speak of meeting the basic, physical needs of the people we serve, and their socioemotional needs often fall aside. Many of us rightfully prioritise ensuring our beneficiaries are fed, clothed, and have a roof over their heads, but what about attending to their feelings?

Through years of serving those from disadvantaged backgrounds, we have come to realise that a significant number of them feel disconnected from the community. It may be because they are non-ambulatory, from a low socioeconomic household, or simply being isolated, but people are social creatures and research has shown that not being a part of a community can be damaging to us.

Here at the YWCA of Singapore, we try our best to go above and beyond meeting the basic needs of those we serve, challenging ourselves instead to do better. While we used to organise outings for the YWCA Meals-on-Wheels recipients, the Covid-19 situation meant having to innovate and come up with other ways to engage the socially-isolated.

Distributing Mooncakes

It was a sunny Wednesday morning, and three YWCA Fort Canning staff were standing by the YWCA Meals-on-Wheels vans, taking selfies in excitement. For Housekeeping Executive Jeannie and Front Office Manager Ginny, it was the first time they were going to experience YWCA’s Community Service Programmes for themselves. As all net proceeds from our hospitality division of YWCA Fort Canning go towards funding these Programmes, we encourage our staff to volunteer so they understand the impact their work has on the lives of those in-need. F&B Manager Kelvin had previously gone on Meals-on-Wheels rounds and it was something he looked forward to.

Piling into two separate vans as part of the Covid-19 Safe Management Measures, Kelvin, Ginny, and Jeannie went on our YWCA Meals-on-Wheels delivery routes to personally gift mooncakes to our beneficiaries. These snowskin mooncakes were made in-house at YWCA Fort Canning’s Café Lodge.

While most of us would not think too much of these little treats, for these recipients, it is a luxury they can ill-afford. This small gesture goes a long way in making sure they feel included in a traditional community celebration most of us grew up with.

Ginny said, “This mooncake distribution was my first experience with the beneficiaries and while it may seem like a small thing, I was happy because their smiles and delighted faces made me joyful.”

Covering areas like Jalan Kukoh, Bukit Merah View, York Hill, and Chinatown, the Staff brought joy to these elderly beneficiaries with their cheerful well-wishes. They also took the time to chat to everyone who opened their door. For many of these beneficiaries who do not have family, our YWCA Meals-on-Wheels deliveries may be the only human interaction they have in a day.

“Their smiles and heartfelt appreciation touched me and I hope we can do more in future.”


“I’ve no regrets taking a break from my hectic work schedule to hand-deliver our little gifts and to send our wishes to these lonely elders for Mid-Autumn Festival,” said Jeannie, “Their smiles and heartfelt appreciation touched me and I hope we can do more in future.”

We are truly blessed with the most amazing staff, who despite their busy work schedules, make the time to give back to the community.

How You Can Help

Every day, YWCA delivers 1060 nutritious meals to our Meals-on-Wheels beneficiaries, many of whom are elderly and disabled, and have little means of finding suitable work to support their basic welfare. These meals not only relieve their financial burden, but ensure they have the nutrients they need to sustain good health.

$2.50 is all we need.

Click here to sponsor a meal.


To find out how you can contribute or volunteer with us today, click here.