Sunday, 8 December 2013

Social Collaboration - Businesses and Individuals Doing Good Together!

We're reaching the end of 2013, and we'd like to highlight some folks who have come up with great ideas to support Daughters Of Tomorrow's work in the past months. 

1) Big MNC helps DOT!

An enterprise information company OpenText has a very innovative marketing manager called Eying Wee. Eying came up with the brilliant idea to incentivize survey-responders by pledging $10 for every survey form completed! We received a total of $1,000 that went to help fund our Livelihood Programs.  

It's brilliant how when we put our minds to things, we can achieve win-win for everyone - this innovative incentive idea from Eying not only achieves the purpose of the survey, those who participated also feel good that they've helped contribute to a meaningful cause. And of course, the beneficiaries from DOT gets to acquire skills and tools that will serve them a long way! Thanks Eying, for the wonderful idea :)


Thank you,  :)




2) Big-hearted impact from Bitsy's efforts

Another lady we'd like to thank is Chelsey, the owner and designer of the online dress shop Our Bitsy Prints, who specializes in creating lovely cheongsams suitable for every-day-wear! Chelsey dedicated one of their lovely dress designs to support Daughters Of Tomorrow, giving all proceeds from these 7 dresses to our Livelihood program. We received $500 from this special do-good promo, which will help us with our 2014 January training trip to Kadapa!





Check out http://www.ourbitsyprints.com for the lovely creations. (Hint: We are now in discussion about having DOT's sewing ladies  hired to produce these beautiful dresses sometime in 2014. Stay tuned!)


3) When Shee Influences Many

Here's how one individual can create a ripple effect to rally friends to a cause:
One of our avid supporters and November baby Pamela Shee organized her birthday party this year and made it a fundraising effort for DOT! We auctioned some very nice photos taken by volunteer photographer Nicky during this year’s trip to India, and raised $2,957! Instead of having presents for herself, Pam urged her friends to come and buy gifts on the spot, giving all proceeds to DOT. 




Thanks to her efforts, we are now only $77,000 away from our Kadapa Building Fund target. We’ll be hitting our target very soon we have a couple of birthday auctions every month. Let us know if you’d like to put your birthday in DOT’s calendar for 2014! :) 


Monday, 28 October 2013

"Social Collaboration" - what does it mean?

In DOT's world, businesses need not operate in a "dog-eat-dog" manner, and profits need not be generated through exploitation. It is possible to do business ethically and responsibly while contributing to positive social impact!  In an evolving consumer market where consumers are getting more educated about the impact of the products and services they purchase, it is in the interest of businesses large and small to look into ways that they can impact society positively. 

Granted, not everyone has the appetite nor experience working with the social sectors, and often, big companies take the "easy-way-out" by supporting charities by giving $$, organizing volunteer participation, etc. However, these are often "one-off" engagements that bring little long-term impact to the communities they seek to help. 

Being the bridge between the NGO/NPO sector and the commercial world, social enterprises are key to create "ethical capitalism" that brings about good for society. Supporting social enteprises in longer-term commercial collaborations thus helps to sustain their commercial viability and hence, furthers and grows their social impact. 

In DOT's world, "social collaboration" simply means different parties, individuals, organizations, institutions and companies big and small coming together to create something that's good for society. These entities can take on various roles in the social impact value chain through a myriad participation models. Here are a few examples:


1. Individual's collaboration with a social enterprise. 
Jagdeep, our volunteer opened up her house on the 23rd of October and invited her friends and neighbours to check out DOT's festive design candles for Diwali, as well as other products made by the women in our livelihood programs. We sold most of the candles made for the occasion, and we got some pretty fantastic ideas for increasing the product ranges for next year's Diwali! 

Outcome: revenue generated + product development ideas = more employment opportunities for DOT's beneficiaries.




2. Small businesses collaboration with social enterprise.
On 24th October, we saw 4 women and 1 gentleman entrepreneurs gathering together at our volunteer Suneeta's house to showcase their products ans services. We had a green smoothies company (LINS Smoodees), an herbalist/aromatherapist (Alina from Abundant Earth), a jewellery designer (Hues & Senses), a make-up artist (Angel Gwee) and a stress-buster instructor John (from Smash Your Stress). Aside from pooling together some funds to do up some flyers for distribution, these lovely entrepreneurs also contributed a percentage of their proceeds from the day's sales to DOT's Livelihood Training Fund. 

Outcome: wider marketing reach through tapping on one another's network + increased awareness of DOT's social cause!



3. Cross-industry collaboration
DOT has recently entered into a collaboration arrangement with an F&B business - a bar & bistro called Socialhaus at Yong Siak Street to showcase our handmade products at their premises. Through supporting DOT and our cause, this F&B business gains brand alignment as a business with HEART, and increased brand visibility through a wider marketing network!



Outcome: revenue generation + increased awareness of DOT's social cause + positive brand alignment for Socialhaus.

As we approach 2014, DOT is reaching out to engage more existing businesses on our social collaboration efforts so that doing good can become a part of their business operation model, beyond CSR and into marketing, sales and operations aspects. We will soon be starting a new section on DOT's website to officially acknowledge our social collaboration partners - look out for updates!




Thursday, 19 September 2013

Pre-owned Luxury Handbags wanted!

In April this year, we started a new initiative to collect pre-owned luxury handbags for resale to help finance DOT's livelihood programs.

In the past 5 months, we managed to raise $548 from the collection and sale of pre-loved handbags! This money has helped us partially finance the training allowance of $799.75 so far (not inclusive of material costs) for the migrant ladies in crisis in Singapore (check out http://www.home.org.sg). They have learnt how to make reversible baby dresses, Christmas decorations and fabric brooches from our programs.

Thank you all who donated the bags and also the customers who supported by purchasing them!


We'd like to call for another round of bag donations to help us continue our work. Do keep us in mind if you're doing your spring-cleaning and have good condition, branded bags to give away! Email us at Empower@DaughtersOfTomorrow.com.


http://www.daughtersoftomorrow.com/donatemybag


 *We seek your kind understanding that only branded bags and wallets with resale value above $30 each will be accepted to avoid a storage and manpower problem on our side.

Please help to spread the word to your friends :)

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Lighting Up Lives through Candle-making!

Finally we pulled off the first candle-making workshop with ladies identified through Bukit Ho Swee Family Service Centre and Beyond Social Services! Not without a lot of sweat, some panic moments, and gearing up to handle contingencies. 

Somehow, the attrition rate of participants is really high, so 12 people may have signed up, but on the actual day, only 6 will show up. Imagine having to cater logistics for a "rubber band turn-out" event, not the easiest thing.  Along the way, we had hits and misses and important lessons as well as brow-wiping experiences to bond our volunteers and the team, which is myself and Whelan our part-timer, haha. 

What do you do when an event you've been planning for months almost doesn't happen due to a tiny breakdown in communication, and you've got a roomful of volunteers waiting and looking at you with expectant eyes?

Step 1: Panic

Step 2: Curse under your breath and pray to God in the same second.

Step 3: Ask yourself "So, what's the best thing we can do now from the situation?"

Step 4: Take a deep breath, step back in the room.

Step 5: Explain the situation, have faith in people's goodwill.

Step 6: Make the best of it and create a Train the Trainers session!

Thank you Jagdeep KaurWhelan LiewChristie KhooInez ChanAngeline Ng and ladies from Reed Elsevier for being such good sports about it!

Instead of an "organizer-participants" situation with parties expecting to be pleased, it felt like we were a team making the best out of a near disaster situation. It's great to have that kind of support :)


That sums out our inaugural candle-making workshop saga. Luckily we managed to organize another session within the next few days for the actual beneficiaries! 

Here are some pictures for the workshops - both the impromptu  "Train the Trainer" session and the workshop held for 6 beneficiary ladies from the Lengkok Bahru, Whampoa areas. 


Next up, production briefing! - We've identified 2 ladies from the workshop to commence their employment with DOT to produce the Deepavali candles! One of them is a single mother struggling to cope financially with 4 kids, and another has 3 kids with a household income of $900/month. Hope that our Deepavali candles sell well with good corporate orders so that we can continue to employ them for this work! 

PS. Candle designs for Christmas will be available in October too! Do consider getting your Christmas candles for us and look out for updates!
















Do help us to spread the word!!




Tuesday, 27 August 2013

DOT's Garden of Joy


It's a joy to see the bright smiles that have begun to blossom on their faces,
The light in their eyes starting to show, regaining life,
Where previously it hovered behind veils
Of sadness, myriad disappointments,
Maybe simply the mundaneness of routine struggle
For life to get better.

It warms my heart to hear the happiness in her voice, the pride.
For having accomplished something she never thought she could have.
A text message that says, "I'm counting down the days!"
Anticipation for new and different experiences,
A newfound ability or talent,
Something fun to do
A new possibility, or many!

The stuff that makes life great –
Something to look forward to,
Something to be proud of,
Something that says, hey somebody cares!

Such is our loving labor,
Planting seeds,
Growing faith,
Building hope,
Sharing skills,
Shaping lives,
Harvesting smiles :)

(Inspired by Zaiton & Lyza. Thank you for letting me into your lives.)

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Sharing Blessings

So touched by the spirit of sharing among our beneficiaries. Even though they have so little, they are so willing to share what blessings and opportunities come their way. 


For our September candle-making workshop, I gave a paid assignment to 2 ladies referred by the family service centres we work with, to help clean out the glass jars donated by Xie Chun Trading.  

Dewi, the first lady we work with in Eunos,  introduced her neighbour Lyza for this assignment, and even though I intended for them to share the workload and the income, this is what Dewi shared with me:

"Carrie, its dewi. I want to inform u that lyza and her husband is doing all d bottle washing. They wanted more bottles before d delivery and they have much elder kids that enable to look after d younger ones so lyza and her husband r more free to do it.
I believed in everyone will have his or her own luck so I agreed of letting them to do it and just say that my kids r young n tend to fall sick easily. Hope u don't mind."

Amazed and touched by such generosity and heartened that our beneficiaries are looking out and caring for each other instead of fighting / competing for the jobs that come their way. 

I really hope DOT can grow and our sales can improve faster so that we can provide more income opportunities to these fantastic ladies. 

Meanwhile, experimenting and figuring out the recipe to make these all-natural beeswax aromatherapy candles so that we can train Dewi, Lyza and 10 other women  from Bukit Ho Swee Family Service Centre in September to make them. Not yet perfect but I'm getting there - ganbatte!! 

*Major thanks to Inez Chan from Elsevier,
who introduced her friend Andy Sng, who helped us carry 5kg of beeswax back from Shanghai for the workshop, which saved us some hefty shipping fees!


Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Bowbazaar - a red light district in Calcutta

"Nothing brings more joy than seeing the innocence in a little girl's eyes and knowing that she will have a better tomorrow because of the work being done today." - Carrie



Photo taken by Nicky Loh in Bowbazaar, a red light district in Calcutta where the children of women in prostitution are provided shelter and schooling support. 

DOT will partnering this NGO to bring books to these children through our November book donation drive. We hope through books and reading they will be exposed to a bigger world and more possibilities for their future.

Monday, 24 June 2013

A Mother we are all proud to hear from

So disappointed... I just came inside from having a water balloon fight w/my daughter... While I was outside running around & laughing w/her, some woman walking by had the nerve to say to me - "Why would you come outside & show those disgusting marks to the world? You should be more considerate of others." (In reference to my stretch marks because I had my bikini top on) My first response was to be angry w/her for her ignorance... & trust me y'all, I could've responded w/numerous ugly things to say to her... But I instead decided to respond calmly - "I love every part of my body, every flaw, every imperfection, & every stretch mark. Simply because it represents my journey of becoming not only a woman, but a mother. Have a blessed day." 

I must say though, I am astonished w/the fact that she was so comfortable being so downright rude, not only to someone whom she knew nothing about - but to a fellow woman... We're supposed to empower each other, not try to knock each other down! 


I have never had any insecurities about my stretch marks. I find no reason to be ashamed of the fact that I acquired these during the time period of which I was growing another life inside of me; one of the most sacred, precious & challenging things a woman is capable of doing! My stretch marks are my badge of honor - my warrior wounds - my 'tiger stripes' - I earned each & every one of them in the 37 & 1/2 weeks I carried my beautiful daughter w/in me & I am THANKFUL for every single one of them because they remind me every day of my strength & all the amazing things that I as a woman, & a mother, am capable of! I am finally at a point in my life where I feel & believe that I am beautiful & I will be damned if anyone tries to tell me otherwise!

I AM A PROUD MAMA WITH STRETCH MARKS! OH WELL!