Yip Pin Xiu was born with Muscular Dystrophy and by the age of eleven, she had lost her ability to walk and had to use a wheelchair. Despite this, she won Singapore’s first ever Olympic gold medal, is a three-time Paralympic gold medallist, an international gold medallist and has set two world records in the 50-metre and 100-metre backstroke finals.
Lena Sim was abandoned by her parents and raised in a one-room rented apartment shared with her only guardian, her grandmother. Today, this self-made woman is one of Singapore’s top restaurateurs, having built a casual dining empire virtually from scratch.
Haslinah Yacob was a rape survivor who didn’t allow her perpetrator to dictate her destiny and refused to be victimized. She rose above and founded a shelter that helps other rape survivors. She’s an activist and is the President of the Women For Equality Association in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Lek has dedicated her life to the cause of elephants in Northern Thailand for over 20 years. Lek rescues the orphaned and unwanted, the sick and the injured, and cares for them in her elephant sanctuary near Chiang Mai.
Charm Tong is a burmese refugee turned teacher and human rights activist who rose to global prominence at the age of 16 for speaking before the UN Commission on Human Rights about issues facing Shan women in Myanmar – particularly the use of systematic rape as a weapon of war.
Xilca Alvarez, public defence lawyer turned social entrepreneur, is now a founder of Gourmet Keso. With no experience, she started a social enterprise that offers livelihood opportunities by rehabilitating local communities at a center for social innovation in the Philippines and her company now produces award-winning cheese and coffee products.
Cassandra Chiu is a mother and founder of her own counselling practice, The Safe Harbour. She became visually impaired at the age of 8 due to an inherited degenerative eye condition called Stargardt disease.
Rachel Chung was a victim of domestic violence. For 8 years, she suffered through psychological and physical trauma inflicted on her by her ex-husband. Today, Rachel is a fighter, fighting to change social attitudes towards violence and help women overcome domestic abuse.
Doris Nuval from the Philippines, holds the record for being the longest held female political prisoner from the Marcos years. Arrested in 1980 for planting a bomb, she spent nearly 5 years in prison and escaped execution because her father was a close friend of Marcos.
Rebekah Choong works full time and is a mother of two. In addition, she is also a caregiver to her second daughter, Danielle who was born with Spinal Muscular Atrophy, a genetic disorder that causes muscle weakness and progressive loss of movement.
In a society that puts a great focus on academia, Lai Yi Xuan at 19 is already studying at Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music and has been signed to a record label. She defies the pressures of convention to pursue her dreams.
Noeleen is the United Nations Executive Secretary of Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and Special Adviser of the Secretary General for Timor-Leste. A Nobel Peace Prize Nominee, Dr Heyzer has greatly contributed to upholding women’s rights in the world.
Sam Lo is a street artist behind the Sticker Saga and My Grandfather Road Series, whose arrest in 2012 created controversy in Singapore and around the world. Despite her struggles with the law, she has never lost the courage and passion to keep making art.
Marini ‘Nini’ Ramlan from Malaysia created a voluntary class to teach and inspire youths from difficult backgrounds. She shares how art can be an influence for children to use their imagination and try new things, and inspire them to do the same in their daily lives.
Penhleak ‘Pinkie’ Chan is a young Cambodian patriot working tirelessly to further the country. Pinkie had the opportunity to work abroad but chose to declare her love for her homeland by empowering its citizens with knowledge.
Theresa Goh started swimming at five, competing at twelve, and has represented Singapore at numerous International swimming meets. Theresa’s journey of sheer resilience made her the powerhouse she is today.
Only 23 years old, Anamika Subba is an Outreach Officer with Childreach International, an organization that aims to improve access to healthcare, education and child protection. Starting out as an intern, she has led numerous aid missions in Nepal after the devastating earthquake in 2015.
Dr Maya Bhattachan is the first female neurosurgeon in nepal and her dedication knows no bounds. After the earthquake in 2015, Dr Maya has gone out of her way in helping others, including adopting a baby girl.
Kalyan Keo works with the United Nations Development Program, and is a big advocate of youth volunteerism and education. Her dedication to her country and family serve as a great source of inspiration to the young people of Cambodia.
Anthea once thrived in the corporate world, and is now a life coach and social entrepreneur who does everything she she can to help and inspire others. She founded Hush Tea Bar, (a tea bar run by the deaf) to bring the worlds of the hearing and deaf together.
Ruth Komathi, is a peer support specialist at Singapore Association for Mental Health. Having lived with bipolar disorder herself, Ruth understands acutely the importance of social support to individuals experiencing mental illness, and uses this to help others.
Priscilla is a mother of two who started Project Love Lunch, which aims to provide food and other services to needy children and families who come from difficult backgrounds and who struggle with having their basic necessities met.
Rachel is the founder of matcha5 (now ACTSmarket.com), a global marketplace that provides a platform and opportunities for underprivileged artisans in rural areas (who are mostly bounded by technological and geographical constraints) to make connections and sell their products.
Lim Xiang Lin has been volunteering at Institute Of Mental Health(IMH) Singapore for the past 12 years. Through her work, Xiang Lin wishes to dispel the misconceptions regarding mental health patients.
Loo Min Min is a dedicated and compassionate community staff nurse at Tan Tock Seng Hospital. Going above and beyond the call of duty, she has become both a mentor to caregivers and a friend to many patients.
Wong Li Er is a compassionate and selfless hawker at Pek Kio Market. What started out as a small gesture to pack rice for the elderly at her neighbourhood elderly activity centre, Mdm Wong now regularly gives out meal coupons to them on a monthly basis that they can claim at her stall.
Aziza is a single mother to four children and the main caretaker to her mother. Despite her busy schedule, she still finds time to volunteer at SilverACE and give back to community through her own means. The backbone and pillar of support to her family and people around her, Aziza is definitely an embodiment of strength and courage.
Faith Ng is a Singaporean playwright and the Engagement Executive at Checkpoint Theatre. Her works such as ‘wo(men)’, ‘For Better or for Worse’ and ‘Normal’, have shed light on various important issues in Singapore.
Soek Ying is the mother to Ryan who was diagnosed with autism. She is also the founder of Mustard Tree, which aims to enable differently abled individuals to acquire industry standard skills and have better employment prospects.