PPIS Newsletter August ’21

This August has been a historic one.  


We celebrate many new beginnings – Singapore’s 56th birthday, the Islamic new year, and the announcement that was a long time coming; female Muslim nurses can choose to wear the tudung with their uniforms come November. Alhamdulillah! 


PPIS has been consistently involved in discussions and efforts throughout the journey. This move is a whole of community effort, one that we should all take in the right spirit. PPIS welcomes this move which fosters racial harmony, cross-cultural understanding, and an appreciation towards an inclusive and diverse Singapore.  


Most importantly, this progress contributes to ensuring more workplaces are conducive for women. I am heartened that more than 7,000 Muslim women working in the public healthcare sector will now have this option. 


As we rejoice for our healthcare frontliners, we also acknowledge how far we have progressed as a nation, in respecting one another’s beliefs. As our patron President Halimah Yacob and PM Lee Hsien Loong reiterated, racial harmony takes effort and we all have a part to play. The COVID-19 pandemic recently brought to light strains on race relations in a multi-racial and multi-cultural Singapore. In challenging times, it bodes well to remember that we are all Singaporean first, and our differences should contribute to our strength – not be our Achilles heel. 


Believe that together, we are stronger. It is important for us to continue looking out for one another, so no one gets left behind. PPIS will continue to remain steadfast in our efforts to support women and families across the different phases of life. Here’s what we have been up to: 


On 22 July, PPIS and the SMCCI  successfully launched a training programme to equip budding female entrepreneurs with the necessary skills to realise their potential and fulfil their aspirations to better provide for their families. 


Ahead of Singapore’s review of Women’s Issues, PPIS submitted seven recommendations including the need for pro-women and pro-family policies and workplace practices to be upheld; ensuring the media does not perpetuate harmful stereotypes and attitudes toward women; creating awareness campaigns to reframe mindsets on gender roles; as well as engaging male allies on shared domestic responsibilities. Through these recommendations, PPIS hopes for a gradual shift of our community’s mindset on gender roles and norms as well as encourage more male allies to support women’s development. 


Together as #OnePPIS, I am excited to press on for the progress of women as well as our community. I ask for your continued support as PPIS would not be the organisation that we are today without you. Thank you for standing by us. 


– President Hazlina Abdul Halim

On a cold, wintry trip to Chicago in 2019, I came across a banner on the street at the outskirt of the city – a young girl wearing a hijab with the accompanying caption: 50% Malay; 50% Singaporean; 100% Chicagoan. The group on the trip was not only fascinated but curious. But there was not much information on the Internet about the young girl. 



That image is stark in my mind till today. There is beauty in diversity. The last two months, when we celebrated PPIS Harmony Raya in June and Racial Harmony Day in July, we have embraced what it is like to respect and appreciate what makes individuals different in terms of age, gender, ethnicity, religion, education, and many other elements.   


At PPIS, we celebrate diversity in ensuring that our staff regardless of their race and nationalities, are accepted as #OnePPIS. We know our lives are further enriched by differences in perspectives, thoughts, beliefs and ideas.   


We are confident that an inclusive organisation makes people feel respected and valued for who they are as an individual or group. Employees who feel welcomed are often much more committed to their work, are more motivated and have higher levels of employee engagement. 


At PPIS National Day Observance ceremony on 6 August, we bring together not just staff of different backgrounds, but also children who are our precious little future. These children are growing up in diverse environments in our preschools and student care centres, and will appreciate that we can be 100% Malay or Chinese or other races but uniquely 100% Singaporean. 


– Mdm Tuminah Sapawi, CEO

PPIS congratulates our Immediate Past President, Mdm Rahayu Mohamad who has been conferred the 2021 National Day Award, which honours and recognises individuals for their significant contributions to Singapore.  


At PPIS, Mdm Rahayu went above and beyond the call of duty to shape PPIS into what it is today – a compassionate organisation dedicated to inspiring women and strengthening families. Throughout the years, she has continually lifted PPIS to position itself as a firm representative of Muslim women. Our heartiest congratulations again, Mdm Rahayu!  

On 28 August, PPIS Research and Engagement Department (RED) organised its second ‘Online Conversations on Women Development’ with Guest-of-Honour Ms Rahayu Mahzam, Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Communications and Information & Ministry of Health. 


Themed ‘Women and Employment’, the discussions delved into the challenges impacting Muslim women in employment, as well as the future of work for Muslim women. With some 50 participants in attendance, the breakout group discussions saw lively and honest conversations about the reality of the issues and complexity of the challenges that women face in navigating the workplace. 


Through this series of conversations, PPIS hopes to bring the community together to brainstorm proposed solutions and strengthen the ecosystem of support for our Muslim women to help mitigate these challenges. The official media release can be found here.  


Read more about the OCWD event on Berita Harian and BERITA MediaCorp! 

PPIS submitted seven recommendations for Singapore’s review of Women’s Issues. These include ensuring the implementation of pro-family policies and workplace practices such as flexible work arrangements and childcare/family leave; ensuring the media does not perpetuate harmful stereotypes and attitudes toward women and creating awareness campaigns to reframe mindsets on gender roles; as well as engaging male allies on shared domestic responsibilities. 


In the spirit of unity, we strongly believe in the power of women supporting women. Thus, our recommendations also highlighted the need for a mentoring programme by women for women. This can help to build the confidence of women and empower them in the multiple roles that they play in their family unit and in society. Through these recommendations, PPIS hopes the mindset of the Muslim community on gender roles and norms, as well as male allies who support women’s development, will gradually shift – starting with changes to policies, education, and advocacy. Read coverage on PPIS’ recommendations on BERITAMediaCorp and Berita Harian! 

Living in the new normal means we relish every occasion that brings us together as #OnePPIS. 


One such occasion is our PPIS National Day Observance where we got to dress up in the national colours of red and white, and spend time interacting and catching up with our fellow colleagues from various centres. 


Held virtually for the second consecutive year, the event began with a heart-warming speech by PPIS President, Mdm Hazlina Abdul Halim, followed by our CEO, Mdm Tuminah Sapawi. Afterwards, we watched a special video by our staff who sang and danced to this year’s National Day Parade theme song, ‘The Road Ahead.’ After a few rounds of exciting quizzes, we were treated to a video of our adorable 7oaks preschoolers passing the Singapore flag, followed by a song and dance video performance, this time by our children from 7oaks Student Care (Bedok)! Last but not least, a National Day celebration would not be complete without the singing of our national anthem and the reciting of our pledge, which was led by children from 7oaks Student Care (Jurong). 


Despite the virtual setting, the ceremony was imbued with a sense of joy and gratitude as we reflected on our shared hopes for Singapore. Together, Our Singapore Spirit – the theme of this year’s National Day – continues to burn bright as we stand united not only in the fight against COVID-19, but in shaping a more resilient and compassionate nation for our future. 


In staying united, it is also important that we do not take our peace for granted. The recent racial incidents serve as a reminder that we must not be complacent when it comes to maintaining racial harmony. Singapore’s strength lies in its diversity; it is the reason for our vibrant national life. 


Last month, our 7oaks preschools conducted various activities to commemorate Racial Harmony Day. 


At our 7oaks Preschool (Pasir Ris 2), the kids learnt about the different races in Singapore and explored different aspects of their cultures, including their food and traditional costumes. The K2 children dressed up in traditional Chinese costumes and tried their hand at making dumplings, while the Nursery children donned traditional Indian costumes and made rangoli designs on paper plates! 


Over at our 7oaks Preschool (Pasir Ris 1), the children commemorated Racial Harmony Day together with International Friendship Day. As both occasions celebrate the same values of unity and harmony, the children captured this beautifully in the slogan, ‘We All Fit Together.’ 



We had different activities for each level, while adhering to the safe management measures for Phase 2 (Heightened Alert), of course! 



The kindergarten kids had a zoom session with children from Glow and Grow, a partner student care centre. The kids had a fun and exciting time getting to know one another, playing games and having a sing-along session. 


For the nursery kids, the teachers created a puzzle for them to draw and colour. The kids then pieced the puzzle together and gifted their artworks to Glow and Grow. How thoughtful! 


The playgroup and pre-nursery kids created cards to give to their friends as a token of friendship and harmony – a true embodiment of the #OnePPIS spirit! 

On 24 July, PPIS President, Mdm Hazlina Abdul Halim participated in the Empowering Women Conference organised by MENDAKI SENSE. The two-hour forum focused on women who aspire to succeed in both their personal and professional lives, and women who are planning to return to the workforce. 


Hosted by Ms Sarah Bagharib, other panelists include femrepreneur Ms Huda Hamid and preschool teacher, Ms Suiliani Sukiono. The forum celebrated the contributions and achievements of women from all walks of life. 


Mdm Hazlina spoke on the importance of looking after our mental health and encouraged women to treat self-care just like any other important task on their to-do lists. She explained that in an era where our worth tends to be measured by our work and productivity, it is easy to overlook much needed time for ourselves to indulge in small pleasures. Indeed, we need to take care of our well-being first so we can better care for the people around us. The 3Rs in her life include Routine, Resources and Recharge. 


All three speakers discussed what success means and looks like for women today. Mdm Hazlina emphasised the need to define one’s own success through one’s own success metrics. By doing so, we will learn to prioritise what is truly important in our lives. 

In recent years, Singapore has witnessed a growing trend in home-based businesses (HBBs). The onset of the pandemic, however, saw a proliferation of HBBs, especially during the circuit breaker when women and families sought more avenues to generate additional income. 


With many now gravitating towards starting their businesses online due to the rise of e-commerce, it is essential for such businesses to be equipped with the proper knowledge and skill sets of business management, to ensure a successful entrepreneurial journey. 


On 22 July, we partnered Singapore Malay Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SMCCI) to launch a structured programme to develop the capabilities of female microbusiness owners in Singapore. The PPIS Microbusiness Foundation Programme (MBFP) hopes to further develop the capabilities of aspiring women entrepreneurs in a series of workshops so that they are better versed in crucial business management skills. 


The MBFP also serves as an opportunity for successful HBB owners to give back and provide mentorship, in hopes that this will contribute towards building a virtuous ecosystem of successful microbusinesses. Through this programme, we hope to professionalise HBBs – which are mostly run by women – and create a support system to ensure that no woman is left behind, in true #OnePPIS spirit. 


For PPIS President, Mdm Hazlina, the MBFP is a testament to PPIS’ commitment to support women across different phases of their lives, including their entrance or return to the workforce where they can realise their full potential and aspirations, and increase financial stability for their future. 


Find out more about the programme here! 

In this new #PeopleofPPIS series, we share stories of PPIS staff who are driving positive impact in our community as we strive in our mission to inspire women and strengthen families. 


Here, we feature five individuals who are passionate about the work that they do at PPIS. Read more about them below! 

Hafizah Misngadi is a social worker at PPIS Vista Sakinah (VS), a centre for remarriages and stepfamilies. She joined PPIS as she wanted to serve the community and be part of an organisation that empowers women, families and children as they navigate through life’s changes. 


When asked about what was most rewarding about her role at VS, Hafizah cited the orientation session of the Program Memupuk Kasih, a remarriage preparation course that allows couples to openly communicate their hopes and dreams, as well as address any concerns they might have before embarking on their new marriage. 


“In every workshop conducted, I am able to glean many personal takeaways that enable me to improve myself as a social worker, individual, wife, mother and daughter. InsyaAllah.”


– Hafizah Misngadi 

Muhammad Haziq is a social worker at PPIS Oasis – Centre for Fostering. Haziq’s journey with PPIS began with an internship at our Family Service Centre (East). Upon his graduation, he joined Oasis as he enjoys working with children and finds it a great place to develop his career as a social worker. 


For Haziq, one of the most rewarding things about being a social worker at Oasis is when a foster child is successfully reintegrated with their biological parents. 


“Although the journey towards reintegration can be bumpy, it is fulfilling to see them continue to thrive with their own families.”


– Muhammad Haziq 

Zainurwarna Zainuri is a social worker from INSPIRASI PPIS, a centre that prepares and strengthens young marriages. In charge of INSPIRASI PPIS’ Club Inspirasi (CI) programme, Zainurwarna organises developmental and enrichment events for married couples who are within their first ten years of marriage. She also provides mentoring support for couples who are married as minors under the Home Ownership plus Education (HOPE) Scheme. 


On her motivation to become a social worker, Zainurwarna explained that as someone struggling with lupus, she herself was on the receiving end of the  help and care from healthcare professionals, and in turn, she was inspired to give back to the community as a social worker. 


“A medical social worker who journeyed with me, inspired me to be a social worker. My passion for social work grew while volunteering as I realised advocating for the disadvantaged, such as the elderly or transnational couples, gave me a great sense of purpose.”

– Zainurwarna Zainuri 

Ang Wei Jie is a social worker from PPIS Family Service Centre (West). On a day-to-day basis, he engages and assists clients, links them up with various systems, provides basic counselling intervention as well as helps them improve their psycho-emotional status. 


Family Service Centres (FSC) serve and attend to persons and families who are vulnerable and require support in meeting their social needs. At our FSCs, we hope to see the persons and families we serve achieve stability in their social realm and an improvement in their mental well-being. 


For Wei Jie, the most rewarding part of his job is when he sees improvement in the stability of the life of the person or family he is serving. 


“It gives me the motivation to continue my daily work when I see improvement in a person’s well-being.”

– Ang Wei Jie 

Last but not least, say hello to Nuraishah Senin, assistant senior social worker at PPIS Family Service Centre (East)! Her day-to-day job includes providing counselling support to women and their families in need. Nuraishah runs Aura Groupwork – a safe space for women caregivers to exchange stories and solutions in overcoming the challenges of caregiving. She also engages partners who share the same mission and supports the growth of supervisees in FSCE.


Nuraishah understands the busy nature of a caregiver’s work. Caregivers not only put the needs of others above theirs, they also face multiple stressors which they may not share with others. Listening to the struggles of women caregivers during her Aura Groupwork sessions has helped Nuraishah to appreciate the unseen contributions made by the caregivers.


“My hope is for the women in PPIS FSCE’s Aura Groupwork to feel supported by their group members, who are caregivers themselves, and know where to seek support in the community.”

– Nuraishah Senin 

PPIS Microbusiness Foundation Programme

Last month, PPIS partnered SMCCI to launch the Microbusiness Foundation Programme (MBFP), a structured programme to develop the capabilities of aspiring women entrepreneurs to help them be better versed in crucial business topics and issues pertinent to the business community. Read about it on BERITA MediaCorp and Berita Harian. 

Singapore’s 56th Birthday

Mdm Hazlina Abdul Halim shared her hopes for the nation during Singapore’s 56th National Day. She urges more people to join PPIS in our efforts to support women in achieving their aspirations. Read about it on Berita Harian here. 

Mr Sa’at Abdul Rahman as New MUIS President

Various community leaders including PPIS’ Mdm Hazlina Abdul Halim voiced their support for the new MUIS President. Mdm Hazlina highlighted how Mr Sa’at’s extensive experience and leadership in the media industry and acute understanding of the community will pave the way for greater collaboration between MUIS and Malay-Muslim organisations (MMOs). Read about it here. 


Partnership with Alliance for Action

PPIS will be partnering the Alliance for Action (AfA) launched by Minister of State for Social and Family Development, Ms Sun Xueling on 4 August 2021. The AfA aims to build on current initiatives that work towards strengthening marriages and families. Read about it on Berita Harian and The Straits Times. 


Forum Letter by PPIS CEO

In the wake of recent conversations on safe spaces for students, PPIS CEO,
Mdm Tuminah Sapawi, penned a forum letter to encourage creating a safe space for youths, starting from home. She highlights how a warm, loving, and positive environment will significantly impact an individual’s teenage and adult lives and pave the way for mental and emotional resilience. Read her letter in The Straits Times Forum 


Youths and Mental Health

Our Systemic Therapist, Ahmad Zaki Mohamed Khalid from SYM Academy, was interviewed by Berita Harian for an article on mental health affecting youths. Zaki emphasises that mental health issues are not necessarily due to stress alone as there are various factors that can affect one’s mental well-being. Read it