Mori Official - 24 February, 2022
International Women's Day 2022 #DoubleGiveback: Empowering women from across countries with sustainable livelihoods
We started Mori with the belief in empowering women with economic opportunities despite backgrounds so that they can work while taking care of their children. Some of our Mori moms used to sew rags for a living, and joining Mori to hand make our lifestyle creations meant that Mori moms had to train with us. For example, they could not sew straight lines in the past, but up-skilling of sewing skills was needed to sew for retail products, and eventually for our more complex creations.
Mitzi, who works closely with Mori mothers in the Philippines also holds retreats and chats with them to align and help them discover their passion, strengths and purpose with the work they do. Sometimes, we don’t always get to do everything we like. But for example, we found Ate Remy’s strength and passion is in doing research & development and prototyping for new products, and training new mothers. Ate Riza’s strength is in quality checks and she helps in simple non sew products too.
Empower women from different lands with economic opportunities
This International Women’s Day 2022, we are delighted to partner with Daughters of Tomorrow (DOT) to raise funds for their support in underprivileged women’s back-to-work journeys in Singapore.
10% of Mori’s proceeds from 22 Feb to 8 March will be donated to support DOT in their training, providing practical and social support, alongside facilitating work opportunities for these women in Singapore.
Your every purchase will contribute directly to livelihoods of Mori mothers in the Philippines who hand make our creations + 10% proceeds to Daughters of Tomorrow for their work in Singapore.
DOT'S trooper Natalya who rose against all odds
This IWD, with the permission from DOT and thanks to writer and photojournalist Vivian Moh, we spotlight on a DOT trooper Natalya who rose against odds with her grit, love for her daughter, and support from others like folks at DOT.
In 2017, Natalya, about five months pregnant with Amelia, found herself single and homeless after getting evicted from the place she shared with Amelia’s father due to relationship complications.
“As women, we’re immediately held responsible for our actions once we fall pregnant, but I don’t believe we need to shoulder the responsibility alone. It takes two to make a child and I think it should be up to both parties to raise one.”
Natalya and her daughter Amelia
After a year-long legal battle, Amelia now receives a monthly allowance and is entitled to medical coverage up to $30,000. This lightens some of the financial load that Natalya faces as a single mother struggling to make ends meet.“For so long, we only had the bare minimum, but now I can finally afford more toys for my daughter,” Natalya said.
Despite these small wins, it was one of the lowest points in Natalya’s life.Referring to the windows of her one-room rented apartment, she said, “One day, I was just standing here and the urge to jump to end it all was so strong.” After fighting for herself and her daughter for so long, she felt so lonely.
“But Amelia saved me,” Natalya said at that critical moment, Amelia’s cries of “Mummy” brought her back from her suicidal thoughts.
Left: From Natalya's 1-room rented house, Right: Natalya at DOT work
It was then that her friend urged her to reach out to Daughters Of Tomorrow (DOT), an Institution of a Public Character charity working with women from low-income communities to upskill and provide the necessary support in their back to work journey.
Natalya attended eight-weeks-long DOT Confidence Curriculum program, and regained her confidence and was enriched with work-related skills. She was connected through DOT to a F&B role, but faced obstacles when Amelia fell ill and she had to stay at home to take care of Amelia.
In October last year, DOT offered Natalya an intern role in their Women’s Support Team. After the internship she chose to stay on in a part-time capacity, where she is still making an impact today.
Apart from physical Work-In-Progress meetings with the entire DOT team once every two weeks, Natalya’s Work-From-Home (WFH) arrangement is perfect for her as she has to visit the Singapore General Hospital every other day due to her medical condition of end-stage kidney failure. Although this leaves her easily tired, she cherishes pockets of time with Amelia whenever Amelia is home after her 7am-to-7pm day-care sessions.
“It melts my heart when Amelia looks at me with admiration and says ‘Mummy I want to work like you. I want to be you’,” says Natalya.
As a single mother who has struggled alone for so long, Natalya believes that it is easy for single mothers to neglect themselves in the pursuit of their child’s well-being.
“I matter too,” Natalya shared that it takes a conscious effort to remind herself daily that she has to care for her own mental and physical well-being first before she is capable to care for Amelia.
“Something so simple like grabbing coffee with friends was so unimaginable to the me of the past,” Natalya shared how this acct reminds and empowers her that she is in a much better place than she was back in 2017 and 2018.
With her medical condition, Natalya will be starting her dialysis journey soon. Yet, she is optimistic and thankful for her employers who are willing to work with her during this stage of her life to adapt to what she needs to do for her health and her daughter.
“My story is horrid from the start of my first breath but it will be a beautiful one full of strength for my last breath.”
Different women, from different walks of lives and parts of the world. Yet women of grit, strength and love.
Sometimes life throws us situations that seem unfair. Sometimes we make mistakes. Lives can go through seasons too - autumn, and then going into long dark winters, yet sun and flowers shine and bloom again in spring and summer.
When we see the brokenness in life itself, we also see hope, strength and love. And we can be a part of someone’s journey in a dark season, just as others were there for us in ours.
Join us this IWD 2022 in #doublegiveback to women across Singapore and the Philippines! #Shopforgood now>>
Story of Natalya from Daughters of Tomorrow courtesy of photojournalist Vivian Moh