International Women's Day

They help other women change their lives

Ms Chng started the Bettr Holistic programme in 2011 and around 50 marginalised women and youth-at-risk have benefited from it.
Ms Chng started the Bettr Holistic programme in 2011 and around 50 marginalised women and youth-at-risk have benefited from it.ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

In different fields, these two women have been making a difference in the lives of women here.

Ms Nurul Jihadah Hussain founded an organisation that trains women in technology; while Ms Pamela Chng set up a training programme that empowers marginalised women and youth at risk while teaching them to make coffee.

Despite her lack of a technology background, Ms Nurul, founder of The Codette Project (TCP), felt it is the key to open doors for women, especially those from minority groups.

The problem, Ms Nurul, 29, believed, was that many people have narrow definitions of success. "We believe that every single minority woman has the capability and the right to be successful, and we believe that technology will enable them to do this," she said.

Last Saturday, TCP held its first workshop on designing for social media. Fifteen participants, who snapped up the slots four hours after it was announced, attended it.

Together with her team, she hopes to organise panel discussions and other workshops on coding and e-commerce.

She added that her employer, DBS, has been supportive, and courses on digital marketing she attended for work have also been useful.

Bettr Barista founder Ms Chng, 41, started the six-month Bettr Holistic programme in 2011 and received a grant from DBS Foundation in 2015. Trainees learn about coffee and do attachments as baristas at cafes, but also learn how to manage their emotions and develop healthy coping mechanisms.

More than five years and 16 intakes later, around 50 marginalised women and youth at risk have benefited from it.

Ms Chng initially structured the programme to help single mothers. She believes women have a big impact on families and by extension, communities.

She said: "Women have a lot of emotional power but too often, it is negative and hurts us. If we can change that, the knock-on effects will be tremendous."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 08, 2017, with the headline 'They help other women change their lives'. Print Edition | Subscribe