A DOT training session (pic courtesy of DOT).
Good for Girls is thrilled to announce our new partnership with Daughters of Tomorrow in Singapore.
DOT is a non-profit organization that helps underprivileged women seek out livelihood opportunities and build financially independent and resilient families.
What’s happening in Singapore?
As the income gap in Singapore continues to widen, more and more families are falling behind. It is often a silent ‘epidemic’ — largely unseen amidst the glitz and glamour of the country’s affluent urban landscape. There are glimpses of it though: when you eat at a food court/hawker center and all the people clearing tables are elderly; when a new story surfaces in the newspaper about families crammed 10 to a single HDB flat, or kids having to study for exams by candlelight because their electricity has been shut off. When you take a stroll along East Coast Park beach early in the morning and see piles of flattened cardboard boxes, evidence of makeshift tents used by the homeless.
But there are civil society groups that are helping to address this and DOT is one of them. They noticed that a rapidly growing number of the affected tend to be women – notably elderly and single mothers – and so chose to focus on helping these women build financial resilience, not just to survive but to thrive. The challenges facing single mothers are significant. Forced to raise their families on their own because of death, divorce or abandonment by their partners, there are oftentimes severe limitations on their access to gainful employment. For instance, because there is no one to look after their young children at home they cannot pursue training or attend interviews, or take on jobs that don’t offer flexibility. They may have left the workforce to care for their families and now see their skills increasingly less-valued by potential employers. Permanent housing can also be a huge obstacle, meaning that many have to rent single rooms in flats, or burden family members and friends to keep a roof over their heads.
DOT currently works with women aged between 20 and 60 to learn new or improve existing skills to reach regular and sustained employment. The organization ‘deep-dives’ into the practical day-to-day constraints faced by each woman, coaching and supporting them individually, and building their confidence and self-esteem. DOT complements existing training and workforce-related agencies by connecting volunteers and community resources – any woman in a low-income situation who registers with a Family Service Center or Social Services Office can participate in DOT’s programmes.
So what’s the new partnership all about?
In the women’s back-to-work journeys, the burden of care often falls on their older children. Girls, typically, end up having to help look after younger siblings, while their mums look for work to make ends meet. These teenage girls therefore have to miss out on opportunities after school such as enrichment courses, school excursions, sports and other extra-curricular development. Many give up on their dreams to pursue sports or the arts from a young age, because of the practical needs at home. Some girls also end up having to quit school altogether to work to help the family out financially.
So Good for Girls and DOT are piloting a “Care Fund” that women can dip into to pay for babysitting and other care-related needs to free up their older daughters’ time. The fund is also meant to be a resource to provide small amounts to cover basic costs of after-school activities (such as fees, transport, equipment rental, etc), which girls usually cannot afford. Since this is a pilot project, as needs evolve so too will the Fund, in order to best respond to the women it seeks to help.
The Care Fund is being made possible by the generosity of Good for Girls donors. As a small, all-volunteer organization with low overheads, we are able to grant almost every penny raised to support our partners.
Some of DOT’s clients and their families (pic courtesy of DOT).