Our History & Key Milestones
Aidha’s story began in 2001 as a pilot financial management programme for foreign domestic workers initiated by Audrey Chin and Melissa Kwee, under the auspices of the Singapore Committee of UNIFEM (now UN Women). In 2005, the Singapore Council of Women Organisations (SCWO) provided $35,000 for the programme; part of which eventually became seed capital for the creation of Aidha. In 2006, the Singapore Committee for UNIFEM decided it was time to spin off this programme to run independently. On 19 July 2006, Aidha was formally established with more than half of the Board of the newly launched organisation comprising members from the board of Singapore Committee for UNIFEM, including Michael Ewing-Chow, Claudine Lim (current Board Chair of Aidha), Saleemah Ismail (current Aidha Board member) and Sarah Mavrinac.
Sarah Mavrinac took the helm of Aidha as founding President. Under her leadership over the next six years, the curriculum was developed into what it is today. Aidha grew from its first course of 25 students, whom Sarah taught personally in her condominium function room, to an annual enrolment of several hundred supported by an extensive network of volunteer mentors. Sarah’s work with Aidha and her achievements were recognised by various awards, including the ‘Singapore Social Entrepreneur of the Year’ Award 2008 from the World Economic Forum’s Schwab Foundation. In 2011, Aidha became a registered charity.
- 2006: Aidha was officially launched with 25 students.
- 2008: Aidha began its inaugural Compass Clubs. Aidha’s student enrollment grew to 150.
- 2011-13: Aidha student enrollment grew to 240. Barclays Bank’s Women Initiative Network (WIN) adopted Aidha as its ‘Charity of Choice’. With Barclays’ annual support, Aidha student enrollment continued to grow steadily. We moved from our first campus at 2 Nassim Road to NTUC’s NextU on Bras Basah Road to accommodate the growing enrollment.
- 2013-14: Aidha student enrollment grew to 600. The increasing student enrollment necessitated more classroom space on Sundays and we moved to an even bigger campus at United World College SEA at Dover Road.
- 2015: Aidha achieves Institution of Public Character (IPC) status. Donations to Aidha are now 250% tax deductible. Aidha is awarded the AWARE Award 2015 for Financial Empowerment: NGO Initiative