Daughters of Tomorrow Jenny Choo

“No matter how hard you fell,” says Jenny Choo, “believe that you can stand up again.” The 29-year-old, who co-founded cleaning services company VKleen in 2021, has gone beyond bouncing back. She’s living out her dream as an entrepreneur.

Jenny was part of 21 Daughters, a campaign organised by Daughters Of Tomorrow in 2021 to celebrate women who overcame challenges to return to the workforce, regain their confidence, and support their families.

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.

Just 6 years ago, Jenny arrived in Singapore from Johor – brutally beaten up, with infant son in her arms and only their passports and RM20 in her bag. Before she could move on, she discovered she was pregnant. It was difficult to get a full-time job initially because she lacked paper qualifications, so she and her kids stayed in a women’s shelter.

“The safety of my children mattered most to me,” Jenny shares. “A mother’s love can turn impossible into possible. Whenever I look back, I’m glad that I made that decision to come to Singapore.”

Through her company VKleen, Jenny Choo wants to offer employment to other underprivileged women and support their journey to financial independence. Says the 21 Daughters finalist: “When I needed help, someone was there for me. Now I want to give back.”

Jenny’s resolve to carve out a better future for herself and her children powered her forward. She didn’t shy away from long hours and difficult assignments; she pushed herself further to complete a business diploma.  

And when Jenny needed a helping hand for her cleaning services business, she received it from Daughters Of Tomorrow. Knowing that she was looking to amp up her online marketing skills, Daughters Of Tomorrow connected her with Her Rise Above for a mentorship programme.   

“A mother’s love can turn impossible into possible… I’m glad that I made that decision to come to Singapore.”

VKleen is Jenny’s endeavour to contribute to the community. For one, she hopes to offer employment opportunities to people from low-income families and who may be struggling with childcare challenges. She summarises: “When I needed help, someone was there for me. Now I want to give back.”

You first learnt about Daughters Of Tomorrow in 2016, after arriving in Singapore from Johor. What happened?  

I was a victim of family violence in my first marriage. My ex-husband constantly assaulted me. One day, he struck me so hard on the head, I fell on my son, who was only 5 months old. I fled from our home and spent the rest of the day in a fast food restaurant.

Finally, I decided it was no longer safe to stay in the marriage and in Johor. I made a police report and got an officer to accompany us home. There was only time to pack our passports and essentials. I chose to come to Singapore because I had a friend staying here. After picking us up, she brought me to a medical check-up. It revealed that I had a concussion, so I was admitted into hospital. After I was discharged, I was referred to a women’s shelter. It was there that I found out I was pregnant with my younger child.    

It was also at the shelter where I was first referred to Daughters Of Tomorrow. I’d wanted to explore its childminding programme but eventually placed them in childcare. It took a while for me to find employment because few companies wanted to hire someone who’d take maternity leave for 4 months soon after joining. Fortunately, in 2017, I got a full-time job in a hotel. 

You started a cleaning services firm VKleen in 2021 with a former colleague. How did Daughters Of Tomorrow help you achieve this?   

I owned a lactation cookies and brownies business before coming to Singapore. Being an entrepreneur is something I enjoy, as I can offer services/products useful to myself and other mothers. So I took every opportunity to upskill – in 2020, while working as an HR manager in a cleaning company, I completed a business diploma. That inspired me to start VKleen.

This was when I called Daughters Of Tomorrow again. I thought I could do with stronger social media marketing skills. They recommended me to Her Rise Above, which provided essential skills mentorship for women aspiring to start home businesses. That really helped me to define and structure my online marketing strategy! We even received some grants for our business! 

You started your own business because you wanted to build a legacy for your children. Why is this important to you?  

My parents separated when my brother and I were very young. To support us, my mother worked very long hours as a hairstylist, so we had to be independent and take care of ourselves. As such, I hope to provide my kids with a “safety net” to hang on to during tough times.  I hope that they can inherit and further build on this business – but I’m fine if they prefer to pursue their own dreams too.    

Advice to women who are trying to break out of poverty?  

Do not give up. There’s light at the end of the dark tunnel – just keep moving and you will reach it. As long as you continue to believe in your dreams and work hard, you can achieve them one day.  

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.