After running its Women's Helpline for 25 years and, through it helping more than 25,000 people, gender equality group Aware wants to do more. That is why from March, the helpline will be available in Malay, Tamil and Hindi as well.
Its befriending service, in which women in distress are accompanied to places such as police stations and courts for instance, will also be expanded to five languages.
At its annual fund-raiser, the Love Ball, yesterday, Aware also announced the launch of the Power Fund: Women's Fund For Change. It will provide emerging women's rights groups with seed funding and other resources. Aware expects to support at least 10 causes, with the amount given depending on their respective project budgets.
Explaining its mission to reach out to women from various communities, Aware's head of advocacy and research Jolene Tan said: "Our most consistent provision in the past has been in English and Mandarin, but we have, from time to time, assisted Malay- and Tamil-speaking women when resources have permitted. However, we would like this support to be more consistently available."
Aware also wants to develop its knowledge of syariah law in order to better support Muslim women.
The annual gala event, held at St Regis Singapore and hosted by actors Pam Oei and Siti Khalijah, drew 400 guests who raised nearly $366,000 to support Aware's programmes and services.
Said Aware executive director Corinna Lim: "Our donors and supporters top themselves every year at the ball. The fund-raising gala has made a name for itself as an unmissable opportunity to transform women's lives and contribute in a big way to the women's movement in Singapore."
The annual Aware Awards were also given out.
The Champions for Gender Equality and Justice awards went to Women and Law in Islam, a group that promotes gender equality in Islam, and Eden Law Corporation, which has helped women such as single mothers through a low-bono (reduced fee) business model.
Crisis shelter, Casa Raudha Women Home, which has supported 760 women since 2008, was given the Safe Haven award.
The Champions for Women's Economic Empowerment award went to Madam Ieshah Abdul Majid and her daughter, Nur Shazlina Sulaiman, who provide stable employment to lower-income women and single mothers at the former's two nasi padang stalls.
Ms Shazlina, 20, co-founder of social enterprise Puzzles SG, said her mother was inspired by the generosity of a nasi padang stall owner who took her in when she was divorced and unemployed over a decade ago. "It was really important for us to give back. An opportunity is something that can change someone's life."