In this interview, we hear from Nithya Karthikeyan, the 100 Wishes Project Lead for 2020, on the plans in the pipeline for this year's cycle of 100 Wishes, one of the flagship programmes under YWLC's Community Engagement (CE) subcommittee, and her personal experience from volunteering.
We also speak to Lorraine Lim, Head, Direct Services, Singapore Council of Women's Organisations (SCWO), who shares some feedback from the beneficiaries of the programme.
Can you tell us what 100 Wishes is about and who does the programme aim to serve?
Nithya Karthikeyan, 100 Wishes Project Lead: 100 Wishes is one of YWLC’s CE flagship programmes – we run a combination of recreational and life-skills workshops for marginalised women and children from various shelters in Singapore.
For this cycle, we are collaborating with our long-term partner SCWO, and the shelters we are supporting are the Star Shelter, SHINE Children & Youth Services and Anglican Family Centre.
Our volunteers and trainers aim to foster a nurturing environment for our beneficiaries to learn and build new skills – we have covered diverse themes such as health & wellness, financial planning, baking, art-journaling, and resumé writing.
100 Wishes hopes to offer an avenue for these strong and capable women to upskill and make meaningful changes to their daily routines, life goals and family affairs. They deserve every opportunity to chase their dreams, and we strive to support them along the way!
As one of the project leads for this year’s 100 Wishes, can you share with us what are some of the plans for this year’s collaboration with SCWO?
Nithya: This year’s programme is unlike any other. The aim is to empower SCWO’s Star Shelter residents to put what they learnt into practice and support senior residents at the Society for the Aged Sick. Currently, our shelter residents and volunteers are busy gearing up for the Star Givers Event in October 2020 – an exciting morning of theatrical performances, crafts & games to bring a smile to our senior citizens!
Since the mothers and children have developed a keen interest in arts & crafts-related activities through our workshops, our YWLC volunteers will coach the talented shelter residents to lead dance shows, origami sessions and much more on the day.
Given the social distancing norms, we are changing our approach and moving our training to digital platforms. This is a new approach for both YWLC and SCWO, and we hope to build on this to strengthen our programme.
What made you want to volunteer with CE and particularly 100 Wishes? Care to share any memorable moments from your volunteering experience?
Nithya: Last year, the CE subcommittee and I organised a picnic for the
mothers and children at Botanic Gardens - we had a storytelling activity and held a leaf-art tote painting session, which led to the creation of colourful tote-bag souvenirs. It was truly heartening to see our SCWO-YWLC family come together and share a few laughs over yummy donuts.
For some of the residents, this was their first visit to the park with their children and friends; it was humbling to see their unbridled joy and appreciation for such a small event that most of us would have taken for granted. Through this, I realised how I could channel the spirit of giving, in line with the goals of CE and 100 wishes. And now, I’m excited to steer the course for 2020!
How has 100 Wishes impacted SCWO’s beneficiaries?
Lorraine Lim, Head, Direct Services, SCWO: 100 Wishes has created many opportunities for SCWO’s beneficiaries to upskill themselves, by conducting different workshops under various themes such as job training, positive parenting, and health and wellness.