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.
Dr Radiah Salim is the founder of CLUB H.E.A.L (Singapore), a non-profit organisation dedicated to helping individuals with mental illness, particularly those in the Muslim community, to regain confidence in themselves. In doing so, she hopes to empower them to lead meaningful lives.
Jasmine Ser is a Singapore national shooter and two-time Olympian. After picking up the sport as a Co-Curricular Activity in school at the age of 13, she has gone on to participate in many competitions both locally and internationally. Since then, she has won multiple awards and medals, and has become one of the most accomplished professional athletes in Singapore.
Yashmin is a single mother from the Philippines with two Singaporean children, who was rendered homeless after a difficult divorce. Powered by sheer hard work and dedication, she was able to rise above the overwhelming odds and provide a home for her children.
Nasyitah Tan is the founder of The LOOMs Workshops, a social enterprise which uses art and fashion to empower underprivileged women. She seeks to transform the lives of these women through craft workshops, as well as personal development programmes.
Sumithra Debi is a tattoo artist, who was influenced by her grandfather’s legacy, to pursue a career in an industry traditionally dominated by men. In addition to that, she uses her artistic skills to provide areola tattooing services to breast cancer survivors.
Sangmo Sherpa is a Nepalese undergraduate student studying sociology at Saint Mary’s University in Canada. Hailing from a small village in the Sindhupalchok District in Nepal, Sangmo did not let her family background or gender stop her on her journey towards attaining a higher education.
Xing En is an undergraduate student currently studying literature at the National University of Singapore. Despite being visually impaired and suffering from kidney failure, Xing En has never let her condition limit her ambitions in life and is actively pursuing her dream of becoming a literature teacher.
Phebe Cho is the founder of Accelus, a talent consultancy and career coaching agency in Perth which aims to help women transition back into the workforce. She started an initiative called “Project Lucy” which helps female ex-convicts successfully return to the workforce.
Vivian Hina is the founder of LIPS or Ladies in the Power of Service, an informal group of volunteers made up of Filipino domestic workers, who spend their one day off on Sunday brightening the lives of patients at the Institute of Mental Health.
Goh Beng Choo is a vivacious literary translator, who has helped to translate her husband, Cultural Medallion winner, Yeng Pway Ngon’s novels into English. Her interest in the arts extends beyond Chinese literature and painting to Indian classical music. Boldly pursuing her passions in life despite her age, Beng Choo epitomises what it means to be a lifelong learner.
Mary Kaw is a fashion consultant at WISE Enterprise, who was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy at a very young age. Despite these difficult circumstances, Mary has sought to equip herself with various skills and more importantly, the right mindset to live life to the fullest.
Sophie Soon is a visually impaired national swimmer. Her condition of cone rod dystrophy has not stopped her from juggling both music and sports, and she dreams of becoming a Paralympian in the future.
Jainah is a senior volunteer in Marsiling who goes far and beyond for her neighbours. Despite living on government assistance, she still finds the time and energy to whip up delicious food for her fellow residents every Friday.
Melissa is the founder of Project We Forgot, an organisation which is centred on building a community for caregivers of persons with dementia. She draws from her own personal experiences of caring for her father to empower other caregivers.
After experiencing a personal tragedy, Dawn chose to redefine her purpose in life by setting up Phi Life Center. Now, she works closely with at-risk youths to help them make the transition back into society and heal from the pain they’ve been through.
Ng Li Zhen is a violinist with The Purple Symphony. She picked up the violin in school as part of her CCA (Co-Curricular Activity) but was forced to take a break from it after being diagnosed with lupus at 14. However, an invitation to join The Purple Symphony by her friend reignited her passion for music and Li Zhen is now living her dreams of becoming a violinist.
Eliza Noordin founded Nashata, an activewear company that caters specifically to Muslim women. Eliza’s mission is to provide Muslim women who, like her, live active lifestyles with suitable and comfortable attire so they can keep fit without compromising their faith.
Fann Koh is a mother of two beautiful daughters, Jolie and Faith, who were diagnosed with autism from a very young age. Despite the challenges she faces, she has never let her daughters’ condition stop them from leading a meaningful life full of purpose and joy.
Nina ‘Cute’ Rotelo is a domestic worker from the Philippines who has worked in Singapore for more than 20 years. She spends her free time volunteering at HOME, a non-profit organisation dedicated to empowering migrant workers in Singapore, where she teaches other fellow domestic workers important life skills.
Inspired by her mother, a social worker, Wrightia Wahid is a senior programme executive at a voluntary welfare organisation in Singapore who focuses on inclusivity and inclusion of people with special needs.
Priscilla founded We Believe in Second Chances with a few passionate advocates to fight for the abolishment of the death penalty in Singapore. They hope to raise awareness about this issue in the public eye and to build a support system for affected families of death row inmates.
Dr Gerlinda is a dedicated doctor from the Philippines, who has worked with underprivileged communities in countries, such as Afghanistan and Cambodia. Having received sponsorship for her education as a young girl, she hopes to spread the same kindness she received to others she meets.
Miniya Chatterji is the author of “Indian Instincts: Essays on Freedom and Equality in India”. The book tells the story of Miniya’s experience growing up as a girl in India and how she struggled with the gender conventions imposed upon women in Indian society.
Sandhya Devanathan is the Country Director of Singapore for Facebook. A firm believer in the idea of inclusivity, Sandhya hopes to give voice to diverse groups around the world and to encourage more women to boldly chase their dreams.
Hai Ying is a social worker who has dedicated her life to helping those in need. She is currently the Executive Director of SUN-DAC, a day activity centre for persons with disabilities, where she and her team prove that no action is too small when it comes to supporting others.
KT is the founder of Wise Enterprise, a fashion line that employs people from socially disadvantaged groups and gives them a chance to find fulfilling creative opportunities and employment. Her work gives the general public a chance to see that everyone is capable of doing amazing things.
Claire Wong is the co-founder and Joint Artistic Director of Checkpoint Theatre. After a stint in the legal industry, Claire chose to leave the corporate world to pursue her passion in theatre. Through her work at Checkpoint Theatre, she hopes to give Singaporean theatre-makers a space to find their voice.
Poh Li San is the current Vice President of the Terminal 5 Planning Group in Changi Airport. Before moving to the private sector, she was serving in the RSAF as a Super Puma rescue pilot and was also the first female ADC (aide-de-camp) to the President of Singapore.
Wee Hong Ling has always been interested in science since young. After majoring in geography and sociology in her undergraduate years, she had the opportunity to work on a satellite imaging project for NASA. Now she is a renowned ceramicist who has done numerous exhibitions around the world.
Shima Roy set up Mobility +, a wheelchair door to door transport service for anybody that needs to transport from one place to another. She hopes to provide a sense of independence for people in a wheelchair in order to boost their well-being and outlook in life. It is also important for us to be more understanding and inclusive to our friends in a wheelchair.
Tali set up Dagiz so that she could spend more time with her children, while developing her career in the process. Dagiz specialises in designing and creating bespoke corporate gifts that are tailor made to your liking. She hopes that Dagiz will be a platform for working parents to strike a balance between parenthood and career.
Jen Macapagal is the founder of Race2Share. With Race2Share, she hopes to reach out to the community by combining sports and outreach to help raise awareness for underrepresented organisations in both the Philippines and Singapore.
Sherry Soon is the founder of Be Kind SG, an informal volunteer group in Singapore Despite living with an autoimmune condition since she was twenty, she hopes that she can make the world a better place by encouraging everyone to live a meaningful life with kindness.
Carolyn Soemarjono is the founder of The Boudoir Photographer, Singapore’s first ever photography studio dedicated to boudoir photography. Her battle with ovarian cancer spurred her to leave the corporate world behind to pursue what she loved, photography.
Mishell Leong is a self-taught artist based in Singapore. She creates art that draws on different facets of her personality and life journey, and employs various artistic techniques which have been said to be representative of her East-meets-West heritage.