Honouring Pioneer Generation women
WINGS celebrates the women pioneers from the community and introduces its WAGSLite programme.
WINGS, the only registered charity in Singapore that focuses on empowering women to embrace ageing with confidence, recently honoured and celebrated Pioneer Generation women from all walks of life in Singapore at its inaugural fundraising gala dinner. Minister for Health and Chairman of the Ministerial Committee on Ageing (MCA), Gan Kim Yong, was the guest-of-honour.
Called “WINGS Gala: A Tribute to Pioneer Generation Women”, the event had more than half of the dinner guests women pioneers from the community whom WINGS invited through its mission partners, including Ain Society, Bishan East Community Central Committee, Council for Third Age, Kampung Senang, Lions Befrienders, MacPherson Constituency, Northeast CDC (Kaki Bukit SAC, Tampines Changkat Community Club), NTUC Women’s Development Secretariat (WDS), PAVE, People’s Association Women’s Integration Networks (PA-WIN), St Luke’s ElderCare, Toa Payoh Central Zone, Yong-en Care Centre and Yishun Community Club.
At the dinner, WINGS also announced its two- to five-year plan of stepping up to engage the disadvantaged and vulnerable through the development of a tailored skills-based programme called WAGSLite, an initiative supported by the Ministry of Health (MOH). WAGS stands for WINGS Action Groups.
Explained WINGS’ president, Anthea Ong in her speech: “WAGSLite will bring together the essential, and most relevant and practical elements of the current MoneyAct, HealthAct and HappinessAct into a singular programme.”
Founding president of WINGS and co-chair of the WINGS Gala Dinner 2014 Organising Committee, Dr Kanwaljit Soin added that as there were no gender-focused courses available when WINGS was formed, they developed their own action-learning courses of 18 to 20 hours over nine to 10 sessions called MoneyAct, HealthAct and HappinessAct.
She added: “These action-learning courses are conducted in small groups, and are peer-mentored to allow women to learn from, and with each other. It provides them with skills as well as the social support to make a difference for themselves, their families and their communities.” To-date, WINGS has run about 7,000 programmes and activities, serving more than 30,000 participants. In 2013 alone, the non-profit offered 1,200 of such activities to 8,000 participants from its Bishan centre as well as through its outreach efforts.
WINGS will introduce a special module to train caregivers for the mentees (participants) of WAGSLite. Dr Aline Wong, board member and co-chair of WINGS Gala Organising 2014 Committee, said: “Like all action learning courses provided by WINGS, WAGSLite will be facilitated by volunteer trainers called mentors. Women community leaders will be trained and upskilled as mentor trainers to conduct these courses for members of their own groups, thereby unlocking the local community’s own potential to initiate transformation from within. In addition, we will also be introducing a training module to familiarise children and caregivers on the materials of WAGSLite. This will further support the mentees to act on what they have learnt.”
WAGSLite classes will be conducted in small (up to 15 participants) groups to build trust and create a safe place for action-learning and peer mentoring. A national survey will be done as part of the customisation effort and WINGS would tap into its community of over 5,000 women for this as well as reaching out to community partners including family service centres, eldercare centres, senior activity centres and senior care centres.
The development phase for WAGSLite is to be completed by June next year and WINGS hopes to get support from ministries and community partners to make the programme available in their communities from July 2015.