The year 2015 marks the 100th Anniversary of the Chinese Women’s Association which was inaugurated in 1915 by twenty-three young and energetic founder members. I am sure that at the time, they never would have envisioned that this Association would survive for one hundred years!!
We are the oldest Singapore women’s voluntary organisation to arrive at this fantastic milestone as our members have enthusiastically supported the CWA classes and events for all these past decades, and enjoyed the friendships and teamwork in the various committees.
Our mission to share our blessings with the less fortunate has never deviated through the past century, and we continue to help many needy causes to this day. We have also sought ways to assist the governments of the day, from raising S$6,000 to purchase a fighter-plane in 1916 during the First World War, making Poppy Day Wreaths for Remembrance Day from 1953 to 1968, to contributing all our funds on hand amounting to $4,358.63c to the Malaya War Distress Fund in December 1941, and to the $10,000 contributed to Singapore National Defence Fund in December 1968, and taking part in the 14th APEC Women Leaders Network Meeting in August 2009, which was the first time that Singapore hosted this 21 nation Pacific alliance. We have also encouraged international friendships with associate members and the ladies of foreign embassies some of which have led to long term relationships and to travelling to their countries, and sharing and learning about each other’s cultures to widen our world horizons.
Our largest contribution to community development has been our thirty-two year management and funding of the Henderson Senior Citizens’ Home from 1978 to 2009, which gained a Special award for the CWA from the United Nations Association of Singapore at their 40th Anniversary Celebrations in 1985, as the Most Outstanding Civic Organization. The Citation read: “The judges agreed that the Henderson Senior Citizens’ Home run by the Chinese Women’s Association is one of the best homes of its kind in Singapore………” The Henderson Home was also called the ‘model’ home for seniors by the Ministry of Community Development in 1992, and dubbed a “dream home” in a Straits Times article in 2014. We are justly proud of these achievements. We are also happy that the Home was used for research to formulate future projects for seniors.
For this 100 year History Chinese Women’s Association – 100 Fabulous Years it is my hope that it will be an inspiration to all our members and will be a constant companion to read and re-read many times and share with all their friends and families. I also hope that it will inspire our young Singaporeans to embark on social work and assist those who are less fortunate.
Betty Chen, PBM BBM
President, Chinese Women’s Association