Empowering underprivileged communities with online education and peer support
We uplift lives with online education and community support
Our non-profit organisation helps migrant domestic workers and underprivileged communities break the cycle of poverty and build the lives they want for themselves, their families and their countries.
Why we exist
Our current focus is on migrant domestic workers, many of whom despite many years working abroad far from their families and children, continue to exist in poverty.
Our ambition is to provide a solution at scale to this regional economic and social issue and make their sacrifices working abroad far from home worth it.
What we do
Our mission is to enable migrant domestic workers to transform their lives by unleashing the combined power of online education and community support – and as such make migration successful.
We do so by improving their life skills and their vocational skills. We also work to support local employers to build healthy win-win work relationships with their domestic workers.
What’s unique about us is that Uplifters is a truly community-based organisation. Our students join online class chats to discuss the lessons with their peers. These discussions are facilitated by volunteer alumni domestic workers who went through a training program. Not only does it make the content more relevant to participants, but it also shows participants role models of what can be achieved and therefore increases the chance that the knowledge they gain is transformed into action. The peer support is making our programs both scalable (without significantly increasing costs) and also impactful.
At present, our programmes include:
Our courses are created by experts and follow the best online teaching practices with a behaviour-change design approach. They are accessible to anyone with a simple smartphone.
Life skills courses: a Money Management and Personal Growth programme (free). It includes two modules and lasts for six months. Students learn how to prepare for the future, manage their money (budget, save, recognise and avoid loans and investment scams), develop a positive mindset, improve their communication skills and build self-confidence. More about it here.
Vocational Courses. We have started to develop vocational courses to increase the skills of migrant domestic workers and meet employers’ needs. The first of these is a baby care course that we commenced the pilot of in November 2020. More about it here.
Community building programmes
We create a large online community on social media to amplify support and provide additional resources through partnerships with community partners. To date we have more than 9,000 members.
We plan to develop programs in the future that benefit the families of migrant domestic workers.
Awareness raising and collaboration programmes
We have ad-hoc initiatives to raise inclusiveness of societies in host countries and collaborate with community partners to create systemic change.
Our Community partners
The challenges faced by migrant domestic workers are complex. Some of these challenges are being addressed by civil society organisations whose actions have already proved successful. We therefore don’t want to reinvent the wheel but offer innovative solutions to address gaps in the existing systems.
We implement our programs in collaboration with partners with whom we can combine our expertise to help create systemic change at scale. This necessarily includes diversity in backgrounds: governments, civil society organisations, corporates, religious institutions and individuals.
The Philippine Consulate General in Hong Kong
NGOs supporting domestic workers
A data-driven approach
We measure what we do to continuously improve and increase our impact. As a social initiative, our return on investment is impact. We know that random decisions produce random results. Consequently, we build a robust impact measurement system allowing our decisions to be evidence-based. We believe monitoring and evaluation is inherent to operations management and should be designed in a way that allows constant reflection, learning and improvement.
Our ultimate goal is to give our efforts the potential to have a significant impact on a maximum number of people – and as such combine depth and breadth.
Our Money management and Personal Growth programme has been fully operational since August 2018 and we are starting new sessions at the beginning of every month. Since its inception, more than 3,200* unique students enrolled with a 51% completion ratio compared with an average industry completion rate around 5%.
(*- as of November 2020).
We have excellent word-of-mouth referrals, with a 100% satisfaction and recommendation rate. 100% of students gained confidence in managing their money and saying “no” to money requests and feel they acquired tools to live a happier life.
Our goal for the next 3 years is to build up strong foundations to effectively grow our impact thereby allowing thousands of domestic workers to strive for better outcomes and break the cycle of poverty for them and their families. We want to grow from 2,500 new beneficiaries a year in 2020 to 10,000 in 2023 to prove the model and be able to replicate our success.
To date, we have welcomed participants from Hong Kong, Singapore, and by word of mouth we have reached domestic workers in the Middle East. Our solution is scalable for the region and has the potential to be tailored for other disadvantaged groups who struggle with managing their finances and their mental well-being.
I joined Uplifters because I wanted to save money but I also wanted to make friends. I learnt a lot about saving but I was also able to chat to other students. It was great to be able to support each other during the course, great to hear about different people’s experiences and great to share ways to change things from negative to positive. We built up a friendship and kept in touch afterwards.
I had been working for 6 years in Singapore but had nothing to show for it. In just one year after I joined Uplifters, I started building a house in the Philippines. I don’t have a weekly day off to attend face to face classes so Uplifters was a unique opportunity.
Thanks to Uplifters I’ve finally learnt to say ‘No’ in a nice but effective way. My kids now understand the value of money and the importance of savings.
What is unique about Uplifters is that there are chats in the online classes where students can share their difficulties and motivate each other without fear of being judged.
I came to Hong Kong two years ago to escape a toxic relationship with my husband. Uplifters is not just about money management but also personal development and empowerment. I am little by little reaching my objective to make myself complete again as an independent woman.
I joined Uplifters out of curiosity but it changed me in many positive ways. I was struggling to save money before and I didn’t know how to manage my money. I am sure that if I didn’t join Uplifters, I still wouldn’t be able to save and I‘d never achieve my personal goals. My dream is to save for my retirement and I’ve already started saving for it. I’ve joined other classes before and they’re almost the same but Uplifters has had the most positive impact on me as I was able to put my learnings into action.
I joined Uplifters because of my friend who told me about it as we had graduated from the same face to face financial education program at another ngo before. I felt that I could still benefit from more support with keeping up with my savings and self-discipline. I was excited and nervous as it was my first time to do an online class. I was planning to back out as I am shy and introverted and thought it was similar to virtual teaching where I have to face the mentor on the screen. I was very much relieved to learn that it wasn’t like that. I enjoyed studying when it was convenient for me. However, I felt that the 3-week online course wasn’t enough for me to help me reach my goals so I did the Uplifters 6-month Make it Happen online course. I loved the lessons that I got monthly from Robot Joy! I was always looking forward to receiving them. I remember one of the lessons that I have done is the bracelet challenge where you change your bracelet from wrist each time you break the new habit you want to follow. If you manage to keep the bracelet at the same wrist for one month you can give yourself a small reward.
Then I decided to become an Uplifters team leader. It gives me the chance to study it again and at the same time practice what I have learned. Being a team leader also gives me the chance to learn from others and it keeps me on track with reaching my goals.
Before Uplifters, I was easily discouraged and thought I was not brave enough to face life. However one story from the Dare to Dream course inspired me to stop listening to negative criticism from other people.
The course helped me learn how to manage my money well and say no to people in a nice way. The courses of Uplifters differ from other classes because they really helped me to be motivated in pursuing my goals.
The most rewarding part about being a team leader is I grow together with my students. I may repeatedly read the lessons but it continuously inspires me. I find my worth being a woman by helping to empower my fellow women. It is my happiness to share with them how this life changing course moulded me to be better. In Uplifters, I found my purpose and that is to be an instrument to make a change in the lives of foreign domestic workers. It is satisfying to know that I am part of how these students find their own self, dreaming and working towards achieving their goals. I love what I am doing right now and I will continue to give back to the community that impacted me deeply.