Aidha’s 14th Anniversary

We celebrated our 14th anniversary on 19 July 2020 with a wonderful virtual panel discussion to pay homage to our alumni, near and far, and to our students for being the beating heart of the Aidha community. We also took a stroll down memory lane with a video of Aidha through the years that you can watch here.

To end our birthday month, we would love to share a photo collage of our students and alumni with their birthday wishes for Aidha. A big thank you for the lovely selfies and to everyone else for leaving your well wishes for us here on Facebook. Here’s to another wonderful year with the Aidha community! 

Workshop with PayPal

On Sunday, Aidha students and alumna joined an interesting and interactive session by PayPal. Participants learned more about the different modes of online payment they can adopt for their future or existing businesses. Our volunteers from PayPal also had a useful demonstration on how to get started with online payments through a PayPal business account and the many benefits that comes with it, including the buyer and seller protection feature.

Thank you to the volunteers from PayPal, Chinkita Chugh, Sara Dahlia and Diana Yong, for leading and facilitating this fruitful session!

Ride for Aidha 2020

From 1-15 November 2020, Team Aidha has gone the distance for women’s education logging over 2,000 kilometres so far, just through our Strava Ride for Aidha club.

It has been a unique year for Ride for Aidha, and we’ve been delighted how Team Aidha has come together virtually to support and cheer each other on. Team Aidha is made up of over 135 riders, including 16 Aidha students and alumnae, and 10 corporate teams with over 75 riders. Many of our riders are also volunteers and individuals who are passionate about Aidha’s mission.

Together, we’ve shared in each other’s cycling victories as well as challenges. Whether it was setting a cycling personal best of over 200km in one ride, for an Aidha student alumna, or a passing rider lending a helping hand when an Aidha rider needed bike maintenance mid-ride, Team Aidha riders have faced and conquered these challenges to reach the finish line and complete their #RideforAidha distance!

Virtual Graduation Ceremony 2020

We would like to thank everyone who tuned in for the Aidha Graduation Ceremony 2020 on Facebook LIVE. It was an amazing sight to see all the graduates being celebrated for their achievements, strength and determination. During the LIVE virtual ceremony, we received many warm wishes and lovely congratulatory messages from all around the world! For those who missed the LIVE stream, you can watch it here.

October is always a special month at Aidha as we celebrate the graduation of our students from Modules 2 and 3. These students have completed at least 12 months of financial education at Aidha and worked hard to complete their own personal financial plans and business plans.

For over a decade Aidha has held a formal ceremony in a concert hall with an audience, special guests, presentations, dancing and lots of hugs. But that wouldn’t be possible this year.

How could we make Graduation Day a truly special occasion to reflect the fantastic achievements of our students in challenging times, an event to celebrate their learning journey and encourage and inspire them for the future?

Usually, we have over 120 graduates but due to the disruption to the normal class schedule, we had 52 graduates, with more than half having to complete their classes online. A remarkable feat in this disrupted year! And in such a year, we needed a really remarkable event to celebrate our graduates’ achievements.

First of its kind

Graduates told us what was important to them and we decided to tap the extraordinary skills and enthusiasm of our students and volunteers and trainees. The Aidha community rallied to help us plan and execute an event full of meaning and joy.

As the day approached, mentors of the graduating batches worked with graduates to create short presentations of their own which we would air at the ceremony instead of having a guest speaker. This was a lovely way to showcase both the creativity of our students and the confidence and speaking skills they have built during their coursework at Aidha. The results were amazing! We really enjoyed watching them at the ceremony.

On the day, 25 October, our amazing MC Ting Claravall stepped up again. Ting stitched the proceedings together for us expertly! 40 graduates joined us live using the Zoom link and we had more than 70 viewers watching our Live-streamed event on our Facebook page (you can still watch the recording on our page if you missed it!)

A very special graduating class

In her welcome address, Aidha’s CEO Jacqueline Loh praised 2020 graduates for completing their courses despite the additional challenges they faced this year. Our graduates, as well as Aidha staff and mentors, displayed their extraordinary resilience this year and dug deep to find ways to keep going with learning and classes despite the pandemic.

Graduation photos are an important element of graduation for students and their families and friends, and we’d organised formal graduation photoshoots to ensure our 2020 graduates didn’t miss out. On the day, instead of standing on stage, our graduates were presented one by one – clad in graduation robes and beaming with pride in their graduation photos – in a ‘virtual procession’.

Special messages of congratulations came from H.E. Joseph Del Mar Yap, the Ambassador of the Republic of the Philippines, as well as Claudine Lim, Aidha’s Chair and mentors of the graduating batches. Our ceremony often ends with an uplifting dance led by Sari Marden, Aidha supporter and coach, boosting the sense of what our graduates can now go on to achieve. Whilst this year we couldn’t dance together, Sari promised the graduates we will dance together again. Her parting message echoed with us all: “Keep On Shining!”

And shining the limelight on our graduates, we created a Virtual Yearbook, collating our graduates’ favourite memories at Aidha and their sources of inspiration. You can get to know our graduates and get inspired by their words here.

Aidha’s very own English Club!

To encourage our students to continue learning and staying connected with the Aidha community, we launched an English Club WhatsApp Group in mid-May for our current ‘Improve Your English’ students. Through sharing fun English quizzes and exercises in the group, we supported students to practise their English at their own pace over these past months.

 As an additional supplement to the WhatsApp group, we held our first-ever English Club Online session on Sunday, 21 June! The two-part session started with a Zoom training conducted by the Aidha team to help students familiarise themselves with the key features of Zoom. The second part was an interactive session led by English mentors Meenakshi, Miki and Nirali, who guided students through the Diary Challenge exercise.

 The 15 Aidha students had an enjoyable morning sharing about their daily lives with each other, which was a wonderful opportunity for them to practise speaking English and, at the same time, to catch-up with their classmates. Our students also got to hear from Aidha alumni, Siti Mujiati, who shared her lovely story about how she spent her day and what she is grateful for.

 A big thank you and well done to our students for actively participating during the online session and independently practising during their free time. Thank you to our amazing English mentors for leading the session and preparing the activities for our students, and Siti for sharing her story! We look forward to more English Club Online sessions!

Building our Resilience at Aidha

On the morning of Sunday, 14 June, Aidha held an online seminar “Building Your Resilience”. This was the third session of Aidha’s series on community wellbeing during such challenging times, and we have received lots of positive feedback about these sessions – over 100 students and alumni have attended the class since our first session in April!

During the session, Mentor Michele Klyne helped students to understand what resilience is and how to develop personal resilience to be better prepared for life’s challenges. Students learnt that resilience is about being able to stay strong during difficult times and bounce back quickly. Students practised using reframing as a way to handle a challenging situation differently and arrive at a more positive outcome. They also learnt that to build resilience, we need to take care of five key pillars of resilience in our lives: mental, social, emotional, spiritual and physical. Check out the slide from the session to have an overview of the pillars!

Participants also got to hear from fellow student about her experiences in using resilience to face challenges. A big thank you to Michelle and all those involved in supporting this session and of course our students for actively participating!

Maintaining Wellness at Aidha: Yoga and Zumba

On the afternoon of Sunday, 14th June, our students and alumni had a fun time trying out different Yoga poses and breathing techniques during our fortnightly Online Yoga Session. Aidha has been conducting Online Yoga Sessions and Online Zumba Sessions on alternate weeks, respectively, as part of our wellness series. This is a particularly popular series among our students, who enjoy letting loose at the end of each week during these physically and mentally rewarding sessions!

During our hour-long Online Yoga Sessions with Yoga Guru Monica Bhagwandin, students learn basic breathing and stretching techniques to help their mind and body relax, and have fun trying out basic to slightly challenging yoga poses. Meanwhile, our students work up a sweat during our hour-long Zoom Zumba sessions, led by the fabulous Zumba trainer, Melanie Strawn. Participants always have so much fun grooving along to upbeat tunes in the comfort of their homes.

Be it Yoga or Zumba, our students undoubtedly feel more energised after each session and are ready to start the week in a fresh state of mind. Major thanks to Monica and Melanie for leading our online Yoga and Zumba sessions respectively, and to our students for their constant enthusiastic participation in our wellness series!

Digital Marketing in COVID-19 times

With the current COVID-19 situation, businesses have taken their operations and marketing efforts online. To help prepare our Module 3 students and alumni to adapt to the rapidly evolving business landscape, we held an online workshop on ways to engage your audience with social media during COVID-19 on Sunday, 31 May.

The interactive online workshop was led by Ida Supahat, Aidha’s former communications manager and a small business owner, and participants had a fruitful session learning together. Participants learned about the importance of understanding their audience with real-life examples from other small regional businesses who have successfully changed their marketing initiatives to cater to customers’ demands. Participants broke out into smaller groups and brainstormed on ideas to identify a business’s audience, branding and platforms to leverage on. The session also featured useful apps and tools to create vibrant content for social media.

Thank you to Ida Supahat for facilitating the super interesting and interactive online workshop and sharing some very useful apps for participants to use for their businesses! Also, a special mention to our alumni who joined us from their home countries. Let’s keep learning together!

Staying Calm: Introduction to Mindfulness

On Sunday, 10 May, 25 Aidha students, alumni and trainees came together to explore mindfulness. This was a part of Aidha’s series on taking care of community wellbeing during this uncertain period, with a lot of changes in the world.

Every day, we’re bombarded by so much information and updates on what’s going on in the world, available at the tip of our fingers through the mobile phones. While we enjoy connecting with our loved ones and the world, we shouldn’t forget to bring our attention to the present, and mindfulness can help us to bring awareness to our emotions, mind and surroundings. During the session, we discussed our emotions, penned down our thoughts on things that bring us joy (i.e. journaling) and learned a few breathing techniques to aid in focusing more on the present, so that we can enjoy and be thankful of our lives today, rather than worrying too much about the past or the future.

Thank you students, alumni and trainees for the active participation, and mentor Yina for facilitating the session. We look forward to seeing our community members in our next wellness programme session so please keep watching our space!

Debt Management Short Course

We had an engaging session of our Debt Management short course on Sunday where participants learned the right tools to prevent and manage debt. A big thank you to our mentor, Neha Tyagi, for leading the session and to our student ambassador, Elizabeth Libre Gong, for sharing her Aidha experience. Special mention to AMP Singapore for collaborating with us on Sunday’s session!

Learn more about our Debt Management short course here:

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