Danutcha Catriona Singh, 32

Danutcha Catriona Singh, 32

Managing Director, SOLS 24/7

I was a journalist before joining SOLS 24/7 in Timor Leste as a teacher, continued my journey as an educator in Malaysia with SOLS, and then moved on to run things behind the scenes. Now I’m Managing Director. I would never have thought that a few years down the road, I would have been able to play such a big role in an NGO. The best part of the work is definitely getting to meet such amazing people from all over the world who are passionate about something that goes beyond material things, whether it’s about building something or working on an existing project that serves others. Plus point: I get to be my own boss so I can manage my time and give as much as I can to my two very energetic children!

Not many people know this, but I had very low self-esteem and self-doubt from the time I was very young. As I got older, it manifested so I didn’t trust myself to take a decision. However, I’ve held so many roles now, from teaching to (slightly dodgy!) graphic design, counting stock, counseling, writing reports to making videos...working in an NGO allowed me to experience stuff that I never thought that I would actually end up doing as I majored in journalism. So don’t limit yourself and even if you aren’t formally trained in something, just try!

One thing that I truly believe in and I hope to share with more girls and women is that you truly have to value yourself, and what you want to get out of life and relationships, without forgetting your needs. Don’t compromise your beliefs unless it’s for values or a higher virtue. When I look back, there were times when I did compromise my self-worth; I wish I’d had the faith and confidence to take a stand. Remember, if you feel isolated, don’t be afraid to stop, and ask ‘who can help me?’ Reach out, even if it’s just meeting a friend for coffee and a chat. Whenever I shared my challenges, I would realise that (what I needed) was always in me, I just needed to recognize what my inner voice was telling me, and it came to the surface when I took the time to verbalize it, by talking to someone. The deciding factor is inside of me. Dig for that kernel of confidence or belief and hold on to it, be unwavering. And move forward with caution but without fear.