AWWA is a social service organisation, serving over 10,000 of the disadvantaged across life stages. Services include early intervention for pre-schoolers, education and disability support for children with special needs, assistance to low income families, caregivers, and health and social assistance for vulnerable seniors. AWWA is Singapore-based, with an Institution of a Public Character (IPC) status.
Our journey in contributing to the needs of the underserved began in 1970 by the will of one woman, Mrs Shakuntala Bhatia, to fill a gap after the wives of the British troops left in the late 1960s. She rallied like-minded women in Singapore to pick up where the British women left off in helping the needy.
In the beginning, the work consisted of general welfare services. What started out as a group of caring individuals coming together to distribute rations to low-income families evolved into becoming a social service provider. Under the banner of the Asian Women’s Welfare Association, Mrs Bhatia and her peers identified gaps in the community and, in addition to helping families in need, also delivered much-needed services to help the aged and persons with disabilities. Their goal was to empower the marginalised and socially-disadvantaged, and enable them to lead dignified and independent lives.
New initiatives were gradually introduced such as the setting up of Ang Mo Kio Community Home for the Aged (now AWWA Senior Community Home) in 1976 to serve seniors aged 60 and above who are without next-of-kin, family, or financial support.
In 1986, AWWA was awarded the UN Community Excellence Award for its Handicapped Children’s Playgroup, which was later developed into the Centre for Multiply Handicapped Children (CMHC). Four years later, CMHC marked a major milestone when it was officially registered with the Ministry of Education as AWWA Special School (now AWWA School).
On 7 January 2015, the Association incorporated AWWA Ltd, a Singapore company limited by guarantee. In April that year, AWWA Ltd took over the operation of all the charitable services and activities previously managed by the Association.
Mrs Bhatia’s work laid the foundation for AWWA. Today, our social workers, therapists, teachers, program staff and management continue to identify needs on the ground. Through this, AWWA continues to evolve, innovate and fill gaps in the community, venturing into new areas where there is a need. For this and ongoing programmes, we work with community partners, government agencies, volunteers, and donors who have rendered strong support to further AWWA’s cause to empower the disadvantaged and maximise their potential.
“People Giving to People” aptly embodies the ethos of AWWA; It reflects the ‘heart of the volunteer’ and the hard work and dedication of staff, contributors and supporters who give their best to help the disadvantaged and make Singapore a more caring and inclusive society.