This volunteer mentors FDWs on how to manage their finances

Student Graduation Ceremony
PHOTO: Aidha

Ever thought of volunteering but unsure of how to start? For Clare Tong, it was a simple Internet search that allowed her to cultivate this passion.

"Since secondary school, I've participated in Community Involvement Projects where I had the chance to meet people from all walks of life and witness firsthand segments of society that could really use more support."

Seeing how her actions could truly make a difference in someone's life, Clare was motivated to give back to the community even beyond her student years.

After graduating with an economics degree, Clare decided to use her new-found knowledge for the greater good.

It was then that she discovered Aidha online, a local charity that provides financial literacy and self-development skills to foreign domestic workers and lower-income women to enable them and their families to break out of the cycle of poverty.

"I think it's important to identify a few causes that you're interested in or have skill sets in so that you will be more committed in your volunteering journey."

Aidha's vision to build lifelong skills for foreign domestic workers (FDWs) to ensure sustainable financial empowerment resonated with Clare and this eventually persuaded to join the non-profit organisation as a volunteer mentor, on top of her day job as a data analyst.

"As a mentor, I take on a class of 10-20 students for a particular module that lasts 6 months," Clare explains.

Classes follow a structured class curriculum designed by Aidha but ultimately, her role is to support the women in their learning journeys while also strengthening her own speaking skills.

Many of the FDWs arrive in Singapore at a young age, leaving behind their families, children and partners. It is therefore inevitable that many are often not exposed to adequate financial or holistic education.

Coupled with the pressure from work and their family back at home who may have certain financial demands, many of these women unfortunately accumulate little savings despite toiling for many years here in Singapore.

Despite the hardships her students face, Clare never fails to be inspired by their resilience. She internalises it as motivation to become better herself.

"Some of them may have failed businesses or difficult family backgrounds, but still they do not give up. These women are choosing to spend the one free day of their week to travel all the way to school to learn, out of their genuine desire to improve their lives.

Whether it's teaching FDWs to manage their money through financial planning and informed decision-making, to starting a business, Clare is grateful in the knowledge that the lessons being imparted upon these women can help them to secure a brighter future.

She recommends checking out websites such as www.giving.sg or www.volunteer.sg as there are many curated opportunities listed that can help you kickstart your own volunteer journey.

"Talk to the organisation, current and previous volunteers or attend introductory sessions without feeling the need to commit yet. It's never late to lend someone a helping hand."

For more information on Aidha, click here.

This article was first published in Wonderwall.sg