When Natalya Rahayu Binte Mustafa Kamal first arrived at Daughters Of Tomorrow in 2018, she was one of its beneficiaries seeking employment assistance and support. A single mother with an infant daughter, she had no stable income and couldn’t afford a permanent home.

But Natalya refused to give in or give up. “I told myself that I had to just do it,” she says. “I didn’t want to indulge in the negativity of what happened to me; I should move forward even if it’s one step at a time, for a better life with my child on my own.”

At her friend’s advice, she signed up for the Daughters Of Tomorrow Confidence Curriculum workshops. This eight-week programme taught Natalya professional and communications skills, and allowed her to rebuild her self-confidence – she found a job in F&B soon after. More importantly, through other beneficiaries she met at Daughters Of Tomorrow (DOT), she also found a community that offered her a sense of belonging.

So when an internship with the Women Support team at DOT came up in October 2020, Natalya took it. Now a community building executive, she’s still effecting positive change in the lives of underprivileged women and helping to reduce poverty in Singapore. She says she wants to share her journey with them, and enable others to “find their footing and begin their journey to a better life”.

Natalya Rahayu Binte Mustafa Kamal, a community building executive with Daughters Of Tomorrow, hopes her daughter will grow up “to be thankful and grateful for the life we have, for the strength and courage to know better and do better”.

Founded in 2014, DOT 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.

So what’s the biggest challenge for beneficiaries? Says Natalya: “Caregiving duties. Many of our ladies do not have enough help in this aspect.”

“When there is little to no support with the kids, it’s hard for mothers to get full-time jobs, whether it’s 9-to-5 or shift work.”

What are your key responsibilities?

I work with my colleagues at Daughters Of Tomorrow’s Women Support team to provide emotional and practical support to our beneficiaries in their journey to return to the workforce. As a community building executive, I help to strengthen a sense of community among the women in our Facebook group, where we often share useful resources. I also host the virtual support groups we organise for these women.

Your job requires you to connect with many different people. What are important qualities to have? 

Good communication skills. It’s also important to be able to listen to our beneficiaries and to relate to them.

You singled out the Mother’s Day Carnival 2022 as a highlight in your career at Daughters Of Tomorrow. Tell us more.  

It our first physical event after Covid-19 restrictions were eased. Everyone loved it! Many mummies told us they enjoyed the mini wellness sessions during the event, and being pampered while getting manicures and massages. The kids loved the movies, game booths, art & craft classes, and snacks and popcorn! I was overwhelmed by all the hugs I received on that day!  

What do you enjoy about working with the team at Daughters Of Tomorrow?

We all share the one mission to facilitate employment opportunities for underprivileged women so they can achieve financial independence, and bring about social mobility for their families. Everyone here is very passionate about what we do. Collaboration and communication require us to work as a team, which is short for “Together Everyone Achieves More”!  

How can others help empower these women and enable their families?

Come volunteer with our Home Based Childminding programme. It allows our beneficiaries to seek employment opportunities or to attend skills training after working hours and not have to worry about their kids at home.

We look forward to donations; all this financial support is channelled towards our workshops and programmes that support more ladies in their back-to-work journey. We love working with people with compassion and passion, so reach out to us!   

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.