More than just numbers, it is the personal stories that motivate us here at Aidha. Read the stories of our inspiring Aidha students here!
Valli Subramaniam, aidha 2013 batch
When you first meet Annavalli Subramaniam, she strikes you as someone who has always been capable, independent and confident. After all, even before joining Aidha, Valli, as she likes to called, says she had already been saving and budgeting. “However, I wasn’t very good. I wasn’t as strict as I am today,” she shares. Furthermore, she didn’t speak much. She felt very shy because her English wasn’t very good. “I didn’t want to speak to other people, only with my own people,” says the native of Tamilnadu, India, where she grew up with five younger sisters. “Even my reading and writing were very bad.”
So when her employer of 17 years suggested that she attend Aidha, Valli was willing to give it a try. “I shared my dream of opening a bakeshop in my hometown. So my Madam told me it would be good for me to go to school and learn about business, computer and communicating better.”
That’s why in March of 2013, Valli found herself sitting in a classroom at the old Aidha campus at NTUC for her very first Leadership Class. Like her classmates, Valli felt very shy and nervous about speaking in front of a group. But by the last few months of Module 1, Valli said she had started volunteering to give speeches in class. Read more
Jeanilyn Bermudez, aidha 2009 graduate and Sunday volunteer
“I’ve always had a business mind. I would look at other people in town who had businesses and think to myself, if only I could save up enough money, I could own my own business too. But there was no opportunity to do that as we were very poor. I looked around for an office job in my home province of Nueva Vizcaya in the Philippines as I wanted to help with my brothers’ and sisters’ education but that was not enough to support us. So I came to Singapore in 1984 to work as a domestic worker. I was 19 years old but my elder sister was not as confident as me so it made sense that I would become the breadwinner for my family”.
It was some years later when recycling became a big issue in the news that I saw my opportunity to expand my recycling business. I had already started and managed several small businesses before, which included a karaoke restaurant, rice retail business and a beauty parlour. But this had the potential to get bigger. I joined aidha because I wanted to learn how to develop a business plan, and the strategies and skills to expand. The business was named the Lyneth Grace Metal and Boxes Junk Shop after my three daughters. I ran it together with my brother from under the awning in our home. Aidha taught me a lot about money management, communication and IT skills. It gave me the self-confidence I needed to communicate as a business woman. I learnt about savings and planning for the future and learning to prioritise. Read more
Nur Aini, aidha 2012 graduate and Sunday volunteer..
“I was 19 years old when I came to Singapore to work as a domestic worker. I left my husband and my son in Semarang, in Central Java, Indonesia because I thought it would give my family a better future. When I arrived, the high buildings scared me. My employer’s family lived on the 24th floor! Four years passed and I heard bad news from home that my husband had married another woman, and had a child with her. I was really worried and scared about how to bring my son up on my own. It was a difficult decision – was it better to pack up and return home or should I stay in Singapore and continue to support my son from here? My employer told me to forget the past and focus on my son’s future. So that’s what I decided to do. I looked around for a course to improve myself and I heard about aidha. I decided to enrol in 2011.
The aidha course taught me many new practical skills, such as business skills and computing. At aidha, I learnt the importance of saving. I managed to save about $300 a month. With this money, I bought a plot of land back home and built my own house. I also decided to start a pesticide business with my father. This was one of the business skills that I had learnt at aidha and it was a good way to make sure that my son’s future was safe and secure. I never thought that I would be a business owner and this made me feel very happy and proud. One thing that I was also very proud of was my new confidence as my spoken English had improved a lot. I was never very confident before, so this was a quite a big achievement for me. Read more
Diyah Supeni, aidha 2011 graduate and Student volunteer
“My dream is to give my son a university education so that he will have a secure future and more choices in life which I did not have. That is why I came to Singapore from Java, Indonesia, 11 years ago. I was a single mother so it was very difficult to be away from my son and my family but my dream kept me going and persevering as a domestic worker. I realised the best way to secure my son’s future was to be a business woman and so I started studying at aidha.
In Aidha, I found my place. They really opened my eyes and changed the way I thought about money and the future. In the Compass Club, I learnt how to save and budget. This was a very big change of thinking for me because previously, half of my salary went to my son and the other half I spent without any concerns. Now I realise why it was important to save and budget and plan ahead. The good thing about the Compass Club is that everyone in the class supports each other because we all have the same challenges and dreams. Making those changes in my spending and saving habits really paid off. I have seen how small money becomes big money. Read more