One year ago, on 28 Mar 2020, the 10th Executive Committee (ExCo) of MENDAKI Club took over its reins during one of the most tumultuous times of our history. Within less than a fortnight after our 20th Annual General Meeting (AGM), which was held virtually for the first time, Singapore entered the Circuit Breaker, and the world of work and social interactions as we know it would be altered indefinitely. There was no way any of us could have predicted the onrushing train of 2020 brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The unprecedented nature of COVID-19 meant that there were no drawer plans for the Club to take reference from. The ExCo and our committed volunteers turned to experimenting, adapting and adjusting the delivery of our programmes, always balancing the need to keep to safe distancing measures and protocols of the day without compromising on the content and experience for participants.
The bulk of our programmes was re-conceptualised for online delivery and audience. Our annual one-day career convention Re:Work (formerly Graduates Tea) was reframed into a year-long series of virtual career skills workshops and conversations with industry professionals. Re:Work became an invaluable resource for more than 400 Re:Work participants particularly for graduating Malay/Muslim (MM) youths who found themselves searching for support as they manoeuvred one of the toughest labour markets in decades. We also saw our first batch of 20 mentor-mentee pairs graduate from Mara Mentoring (formerly Mentoring Circle) with valuable networks from their career of choice and life-long friendships forged over 6 months. The second run of Mara Mentoring is already underway since 6 Feb 2021 with a fresh batch of 25 – 35 mentor-mentee pairs seeking like-minded peers and seniors to guide their foray into future careers in business and consulting.
One of the biggest highlights of our year to-date was the launch of the Young Women in Leadership Dialogue (YWILD) commemorative book, in conjunction with International Women’s Day 2021. The anthology series features the heart-felt stories of 20 young Malay/Muslim women and how they overcame their respective trials and tribulations.
The launch event on 6 Mar 2021 was graced by Her Excellency, Mdm President Halimah Yaacob. To-date, more than 500 copies of the book have been sold, raising more than $10,000 for the Club’s adopted charity for 2021, Casa Raudha. Our flagship Leadership Incubator programme returned for its 10th edition, continuing to serve as a platform for discussion and project ideation to further pertinent social issues of the day such as sustainability, healthy living, and social harmony.
Despite its initial postponement, Young MENDAKI Club (YMC) came back stronger in 2021 to launch not 1 but 2 PEER (Positive Experiences, Engaging Relationships) Community Programmes on 20th February in Woodlands and Tampines respectively, involving 89 mentors and 113 mentees. The 6-month programme aims to provide support, encouragement and positive role models for MM secondary school students (mentees) by pairing them with older youths (undergraduates and working professionals), incorporating experiential learning and development relationships through carefully curated and fun activities. We also continued the strong partnership with MENDAKI Tuition Scheme (MTS) to run 4 sessions of Career Guidance Exploration Workshops (CEGW) in 2020 and 4 Career-Specific Workshops in 2020 namely Makers, Law, Coding, Healthcare.
During the toughest year of our history, MClub engaged more than ~2264 MM youths from the ages of 13 to 35, exceeding our past records! We have also grown our MClub tribe of volunteers to ~200, making us one of the largest volunteer-run MM youth organisations in Singapore! By all accounts, and in-spite of the on-going COVID-19 pandemic, MClub has risen to the challenge to emerge stronger.
As the Club turns 21 this year, we are now firmly in our third chapter, ready to chart the course to new heights. As Singapore looks forward to the next lap of COVID-19 recovery, MClub will do one better and chart our next lap of growth and do our part to build an MM Community of Success. Will you join us?
Faridah Mohd Saad
President, 10th ExCo