Helping women make their lives better is one of the ways to drive empowerment. There’s a saying that goes, “When you educate a boy, you raise a man. When you educate a girl, you raise a family.” This shows the pivotal role that women play in their families and in the workplace.
The Body Shop, which champions women’s rights and gender equality around the world, recognises this. This year, it has chosen to work with Daughters Of Tomorrow (DOT), a non-profit organisation aimed at empowering underprivileged women to provide social mobility through financial independence and gainful employment. Dedicated to the cause, The Body Shop will make a donation with every purchase (check out our edit of the best gift sets from The Body Shop this Christmas) to fund programmes by DOT to support underprivileged women in their journey.
DOT started in 2014 and since then, it has helped over 800 women from various backgrounds through training, workshops and community resources, and by offering emotional support.
One of the building blocks of DOT’s support programme is the Confidence Curriculum, an eight-week-long workshop focusing on self-discovery, coaching and professional development. It helps women unearth their hidden talents and strengths, and regain self-confidence and a positive mindset as they go about looking for new work opportunities and possibilities.
Other initiatives include Power Up Online, a five-week online course that helps participants get ready for interviews and learn how to communicate effectively in the workplace. As these women balance their new-found work opportunities and training, DOT offers childminders to support children of women whose work requires them to work shifts and on weekends in service sectors such as retail, hospitality, and F&B. This way, women are able to support themselves and their families, without worrying about childcare.
Celebrating the priceless contributions of unpaid carers
Afiqah, a Befriender, has been volunteering with DOT for over a year. She works full-time in a corporate role, but makes time to support two DOT women assigned to her through phone check-ins, texts and in-person where possible.
HOW DOES YOUR ROLE HELP THE DOT WOMEN?
Afiqah: As a Befriender at DOT, I get in touch and connect with women from low-income backgrounds who are facing challenging circumstances in their family lives. They could be single mums who take on a bigger share of the childcare burden, or lack support from their partners and need more access to financial empowerment.
VOLUNTEERING WITH DOT IS IMPORTANT BECAUSE…
Afiqah: I’ve helped the women feel supported in their journey by providing a safe space of expression. Sure, we bridge them with things like skills training, and job opportunities, which are all great measures in helping them make a leap. But for women who may not often get empathy for their perspectives, having that someone to talk to, feeling seen and being understood, could help them regain their confidence. Confidence in a woman is the stuff that turns aspiration into action!
Sylvie serves in DOT’s childminding programme, looking after children of mothers who are in the Confidence Curriculum. A mother herself, she understands the importance of caregiving support, especially for working mothers or those in training.
WHY DO YOU VOLUNTEER WITH DOT?
Sylvie: I grew up surrounded by strong and resilient women: my grandma, two sisters, and mum, who became a single mother after my father passed away. Volunteering with DOT is my way of honouring these amazing women I admire. My work with DOT is important as it supports women and families who are struggling right now, and it gives them hope for a better future.
WHY DO YOU THINK IT’S IMPORTANT TO EMPOWER AND UPLIFT OTHER WOMEN?
Sylvie: We all have our ups and downs at different times of our lives. It is important to support and look after each other. To our DOT women, I tell them: Dare to dream and be bold. Celebrate and support one another. My hope for every Daughter of Tomorrow is that through our programmes, she will get to a place where she can be true to herself – a confident, strong and amazing woman – and see a bright future for herself and her children.
Nicolette, who works full-time in a media company, has been volunteering with DOT as a trainer since its inception. She plays an active role in DOT’s confidence, financial literacy and IT literacy curriculum.
WHAT’S THE BIGGEST OBSTACLE YOU SEE THESE DAUGHTERS OF TOMORROW FACING?
Nicolette: There are a few, but some key ones stand out. Firstly, a lot of government-assisted programmes may not be applicable to our beneficiaries as 82 per cent of them only have secondary school education or lower. Also, these programmes may be in locations that are not accessible for some of our beneficiaries, so they need to decide between paying for transport or buying food for their family.
The other is mindset.
The beneficiaries we serve at DOT are eager to work. With the right guidance, empowerment and understanding of employers, they will be great contributors to society.
HOW CAN DOT HELP THESE WOMEN?
Nicolette: Women are often overlooked as the main caregivers, role models to their children, and effective agents of change in their families. DOT exists to enable these families to have better futures as we uplift women to make better choices for themselves and their loved ones.
I believe my work with DOT is important because, like many other volunteers, we bring our own lived experiences and skill sets that enrich both the team and beneficiaries at DOT, contributing to our vision of helping underprivileged families in Singapore.
Brought to you by The Body Shop