Zumba and more as women find healthy ways to connect

 A mass zumba session.

About 200 women took to Zumba dancing, and did squats and punches yesterday morning at the Singapore Expo - they were the pioneer members of Diva Wellness Connect, a new initiative by Muslim welfare group Jamiyah's women and family arm.

Launched yesterday, the initiative aims to connect women through fitness sessions, grooming workshops and mental health talks.

Ms Rahayu Mahzam, an MP for Jurong GRC and yesterday's guest of honour, said that the initiative focused on "women's all-rounded progress and development".

She noted that women are getting busier as more are joining the workforce as they continue to be wives, mothers and daughters.

"To manage our multiple roles and responsibilities... it is important for us to stay healthy," she said. "We must take care of ourselves before we can take good care of our families."

She cited a survey released this month by the Health Promotion Board about how women usually put families before themselves.

They "feel guilty for leaving child-rearing duties to another family member while they take the time to exercise," she noted, urging more women to take care of their health and fitness.

While this is a "wonderfully sacrifical attitude", it needs to change because it "may do more harm than good in the long term", Madam Rahayu added.

Membership is free, but participants will have to pay a fee to attend the workshops to cover administration fees. More information is available on the group's Facebook page.

Diva Wellness Connect project director Bhavana Rao said: "Costs will be kept as low as possible to get women from all backgrounds to participate in the activities."

Manager Huda Aljunied, who heard of the initiative through a social media group comprising volunteers from Arab Network @Singapore last week, said that yesterday's launch was a chance for women to pick up some fitness tips and network.

"Jamiyah is known for helping the less fortunate, so I try to support their activities because they are meaningful," she said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on March 27, 2016, with the headline 'Zumba and more as women find healthy ways to connect'. Print Edition | Subscribe