Giving back is “like an internship”, says Aarathi Arumugam, the financial controller of Daughters Of Tomorrow.

This active volunteer – she’s also a board member at both Aware and Malaysian Association in Singapore – explains: “I enjoy meeting people from all walks of life when I work within these organisations. I am given the opportunity to constantly and consistently learn about how the world works and about myself. I never would have learnt all this sitting in my little bubble.”

Aarathi’s work is crucial to building a better future for both Daughters Of Tomorrow and its beneficiaries. She not only manage its finances, but also oversees impact measurement. For the latter, she uses research data to assess how effectively the organisation serves its beneficiaries through its programmes and initiatives.

Founded in 2014, Daughters Of Tomorrow has supported more than 1,100 women in Singapore through skills training, job bridging and befriending programmes. These women come from families that earn between $200 and $650 per month, and struggle to break out of unemployment and poverty.

Among them, 82% have secondary school education or lower, and 44% are single mothers. They haven’t been able to access employment due to factors such as lack of confidence, practical support, and awareness. 

“Beyond access to employment, we want to help with sustainable employment growth for our beneficiaries.”

By connecting them to volunteers and community resources, Daughters Of Tomorrow empowers them to achieve financial independence and fulfil their potential.

Aarathi Arumugam, who works as a financial controller at Daughters Of Tomorrow, says her kids are her inspiration. They motivate her to “do my best to contribute towards a mindful society that they will inherit”.

Why did you join Daughters Of Tomorrow?

I started a children’s events planning company called The Party Elves in 2012, then initiated Kitchen Movements, where home cooks could share their passion for food and charity. In 2019, we managed to raise $20,000 for Daughters Of Tomorrow.

Then Covid-19 hit, and events were the first things to go. So in 2021 I started looking for something I could apply my skills to, and perhaps let me be employed. Fannie [Lim, executive director of Daughters Of Tomorrow] asked if I could help in finance on a voluntary basis, which I accepted. But when she called again, she said she’d secured funding and wanted to offer me a full-time job as finance manager! So here I am. 

Daughters Of Tomorrow helps to provide access to employment to underprivileged women and to enable their families. What are challenges that your beneficiaries face?

Challenges such as affordable childminding options and flexible employment can make their back-to-work journey more difficult. So we provide support to these women by, for example, working with employers who offer flexible work arrangements. This means they don’t have to worry about taking time off to care for sick children, for instance.      

Beyond access to employment, we want to help with sustainable employment growth for our beneficiaries. So this year, we introduced programmes like Transformation Fund. By offering bursaries to those who are employed for more than six months, it allows them to further themselves in their chosen field and enables them to command a higher salary. This improves social mobility for their families.

With the easing of Covid-19 measures, Daughters Of Tomorrow has resumed in-person events. Which has been the most memorable for you?

Our Corporate Mixer in June this year was very well-received. We wanted to connect with our long-term donor and employer partners; remind them how much we appreciated their support and partnership; and update them on our progress through our mission at Daughters Of Tomorrow.

It was our first face-to-face Corporate Mixer after the socially distant years, and 30 people attended. We are a people-centric organisation, so being able to interact in person and put faces to names was invigorating. Way better than an e-newsletter, if you ask me!

Your goal is to achieve a space where your passions, talents and professional training come together to serve a purpose. Why is your work at Daughters Of Tomorrow important to this?

Working here brings together my passion for women and children, giving back to the community, and entrepreneurial practice. There are few industries/workplaces that offer this combination, and I am grateful to be here.

You have two kids aged 11 and 6. How does being a mother make you better at what you do? 

They are my inspiration – I want to do my best to contribute towards a mindful society that they will inherit. I learn to look at things simply when I am with them. They remind me to be in a “wonder” state, to wonder about things and the way they are, why we can’t or shouldn’t change the way things are, and find different ways to achieve the same goal.

Finally, how does our giving make a difference to beneficiaries at Daughters Of Tomorrow?

We appreciate support through fundraising campaigns here for caregiving support, digital inclusion, and other pillars. Here’s how your giving can help our beneficiaries: $50 for transport top-ups; $100 for temporary childminding support; $500 for one woman to attend IT literacy class and receive a second-hand laptop; $1,000 for one woman to attend DOT Confidence Curriculum, and get access to befriending services and six months of employment. Your contribution receives Tote Board matching – which means your giving is doubled!     

You can help to empower women and enable families through various programmes: Befriender, Volunteer Childminder, Supportive Employer, Poverty Sensitisation Workshops, Corporate Social Responsibility, and Donation/Fundraising. Find out more about these opportunities at Daughters of Tomorrow here.

Photography: Studio Aeonz
Set Styling and Creative Direction: BDVA
Clothing and Accessories: Interviewee’s own
Makeup and Hair: Fifty Shades Makeup Academy
Products: COTY Inc.