Proud to be a pillar of support, at work and at home

As we commemorate International Women’s Day, we cast the spotlight on four women who have been working with the Singapore Red Cross (SRC). Growing up, Ardila Bte Abdul Aziz loved volunteer work. When she stumbled on a job opportunity to join the SRC, she seized it. While people may perceive fundraising and administration as support departments. Ardila perceives otherwise. She holds the firm conviction that fundraising and administration are foundational pillars of the organisation. She shares the challenges and joys of her different roles. As we commemorate International Women's Day, Ardila also shares the opportunities that SRC gives to women to develop and contribute in their careers. 

Since young, Ardila Bte Abdul Aziz enjoyed engaging in volunteer work while working with people. When she stumbled on a job opportunity to join the SRC Fundraising team online, she seized the opportunity to contribute to society by applying for the role. The rest, as they say, is history. 

Fundraising to Uplift Lives of the Vulnerable

When she was in the fundraising team, she engaged and canvassed for support from internal and external stakeholders, such as the organisers, donors and sponsors, to ensure the smooth running and execution of events. Some of the events she played a role in included the Gala Dinner, Charity Golf, Grateful Hearts Day (flag day) and Blue Star Charity Asia's cycling events.

"When I joined the SRC, I learnt about the several humanitarian programmes that uplift the lives of the beneficiaries whom we serve. The work of the fundraising team sustains SRC's several humanitarian programmes. That struck a chord with me and spurred me to contribute to the society," Ardila says.

As Ardila’s work in fundraising was considerably fast-paced, it was imperative to embrace good time management, eliminate distractions, while going the extra mile to be meticulous with the figures. Being in the fundraising team also means that she needs to brace herself and be mentally prepared for rejections. There were inevitably times when she felt disheartened by the rejections. Yet, she reminded herself to press on with fortitude, and have faith in herself.

“Despite all the challenges, I remind myself to keep calm, exercise patience, while thinking positive. Garnering the support for the communities in need motivates me to go to work every day," Ardila said. 

Ardila was gratified to garner the support of donors, volunteers and sponsors for SRC's local humanitarian work at the fundraising events. Their collective efforts would go a long way to positively impact the vulnerable whom SRC serves. 

"Their support enabled the team to positively touch the lives of the vulnerable. My work in fundraising enhanced my self-confidence and made me more proactive," she said. 

The Administrative Team, the Foundational Pillar of the Organisation

In  2021, Ardila transferred to the administration team as she was keen to support her colleagues in the SRC while indirectly benefiting society. Besides managing office records, she also provides administrative support to her colleagues while sourcing for vendors for the procurement of goods and services. 

"While people generally recognise the Administrative team to be a support department, I perceive differently. To me, the administrative team is a foundational pillar of the organisation, enabling the entire organisation to achieve their common goals," Ardila said. 

However, as with any career, the administrative role has its fair share of challenges as well, which Ardila and her team members had to surmount. Often, the Administrative team has to juggle multiple requests from colleagues from various departments as it was roped in to support departments for various events. 

Good teamwork, passion, and a motivated administrative team are indispensable in shouldering the heavy responsibilities of managing multiple requests from several departments. Ardila and her colleagues in the Administrative department rose to the occasion and did their utmost to fulfil all their colleagues' requests while prioritising those tasks with tighter deadlines. 

"I am grateful to the people who have supported me all these years. I am also thankful that the SRC provides a platform for women to propose novel ideas," said Ardila, who has two children who are taking their O and N Levels this year. She foresees that, in addition to cooking dinner for her children after office hours, she will spend more time providing them with moral support. 

In a fast-paced world, it is daunting to remain positive in the face of tribulations. But Ardila's story inspires people to strive ahead and do their utmost in everything they undertake.

"I am grateful that SRC has a conducive work environment where colleagues forge a close rapport. I find joy in serving my colleagues in this role. That adds meaning to my work," she said.

With a bird’s-eye view of SRC's administration matters, there is a stronger impetus to coordinate and plan ahead. 

"I share the lessons gleaned from experiences with our newer colleagues to highlight how we can embrace greater efficiency and effectiveness in managing the administrative matters," Ardila said.

Embracing Humanity

Of the Seven Fundamental Principles of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement — the tenets underpinning the humanitarian work of SRC’s volunteers and employees —  humanity resonates most with Ardila. 

“Humanity may seem to be a simple word. But it goes beyond protecting the life and health of people. Humanity also encompasses kindness and consideration for the thoughts, opinions and feelings of others. Being thoughtful and kind promotes mutual understanding between people. It brings me joy to see my colleagues not only reciprocating my kindness but also taking the initiative to be kind to others," Ardila said. 

Going forward, Ardila has aspirations for the SRC and her work at SRC. 

"I hope that SRC can enhance the outreach of its services to help more people in need. I also hope to take on new responsibilities that enable me to learn and advance at work," she said. 

By Beatrix Koh Xiu Fang, Volunteer
Copyedited by Sondra Foo, Marketing & Communications

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