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Youth in Action: Giving voice to everyday women, creating safe spaces for them

As part of a series to highlight youth activism, TODAY speaks to young people in Singapore who are not only passionate and vocal about social issues, but are driving positive change through their actions. In this instalment, Sarah Bagharib and Cheryl Guzman Ng talk about how they are building a safe space and cozy community for women from all walks of life.

Youth in Action: Giving voice to everyday women, creating safe spaces for them

Ms Cheryl Guzman Ng (left) and Ms Sarah Bagharib launched Crazycat in 2018 alongside Ms Hannah Kamsadi, and now have over 3,700 followers on their Instagram page @hellocrazycat.

As part of a series to highlight youth activism, TODAY speaks to young people in Singapore who are not only passionate and vocal about social issues, but are driving positive change through their actions. In this instalment, Sarah Bagharib and Cheryl Guzman Ng talk about how they are building a safe space and cozy community for women from all walks of life.

 

  • The pair started their community in 2018 with an Instagram page and blog
  • They then began holding physical meetup sessions for women to share stories about their lives and issues they care about
  • They said their community provides a safe space for all women and not just women who work in specific industries

 

 

SINGAPORE — Juggling a full-time job, motherhood and other commitments is hectic for 30-year-old Sarah Bagharib, but working on her passion project is never a chore.

The corporate communications officer for an international non-profit organisation is the founder of Crazycat, a media and community platform for women from all walks of life.

“There are support groups for female entrepreneurs, females in tech, but why isn’t there one for the everyday woman?” she said in an interview with TODAY.

Founding member Cheryl Guzman Ng, 34, added that existing support groups for women in tech and entrepreneurship limit membership to only those in the same industry.

“But what about others like homemakers, the barista or just you and me?” said Ms Ng, who is a senior marketing professional at a consultancy and founder of bodysuit line Allystyle.co. 

“We saw a gap, and we decided something needed to be done — so we did just that.”

The duo launched Crazycat in 2018 alongside founding member Hannah Kamsadi, and now have over 3,700 followers on their Instagram page @hellocrazycat. They also have a website which shares self-help tips and stories of different women and their journeys.

Ms Ng and Ms Hannah are no longer active and Ms Sarah now runs the platform with a group of volunteers. 

Crazycat started as a passion project, but the founding members soon realised that the platform they created was a much-needed space for women to come together. 

"Towards the end of April 2018, we had our first launch event where we had (American journalist) Noor Tagouri to come in and give a keynote speech to 300 visitors," said Ms Sarah.

"We were just starting out and yet there was so much support from everyone who believed in us, it was an amazing experience."

During the Q&A session, what surprised Ms Ng was how people were willing to ask vulnerable questions and share their own stories.

"People felt safe during the event and were willing to put themselves out there in front of other strangers, and that says a lot about the community we're growing," said Ms Ng.

This inspired them to start Crazycat Cozy sessions, where small groups of 10 to 15 women come together to reflect and share their own stories about a set topic.

"We’ve created a safe space where anyone can self-reflect, share their fears and just talk about topics that are often personal, such as pregnancy loss or relationships," said Ms Ng.

They also started inviting a psychologist to attend their sessions.

But these sessions have been put on hold due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and social distancing rules.

Going digital for these sessions was also not an option for the team as they found difficulty ensuring that the sessions were private and they felt the lack of physical intimacy made the sessions less conducive.

While the sessions have yet to resume, Crazycat is in the midst of planning a physical event to be held at the end of January or in early February. It also intends to organise personal development and mental health and wellness workshops this year.

When asked why she felt her cause was an important one, Ms Sarah said that for younger women who are still in the process of self-discovery, it is good to get guidance from other women and understand that they are not alone in their journeys. 

“As a young woman, I didn’t have a lot of guidance from other women apart from my mother,” she said. “My issue is that I only recognised my worth later, in my mid-20s.”

For now, the team works on building a community through their social media pages and blog, sharing stories of different women in Singapore.

But through it all, the biggest challenge both face is the lack of time and burnout, prompting them to expand the team and take in volunteers.

"This is a side hustle and while we are both passionate about it, we do get overwhelmed at times and also have other commitments," said Ms Ng.

"But what kept us going was our mission and the reason we started Crazycat in the first place, to create a community and empower women from all walks of life."

Ms Sarah added that she believes in the power of using her voice to empower others and to fight for a worthy cause.

That is also the same advice she gives to those who want to make a difference in society. 

She said that young people who want to make a change can use their voice and speak out about issues they are passionate about.

“You may think that you’re just one person, but using whatever that you have in your capacity, speaking to your family and friends — I think that’s how you start.”

Related topics

youth in action activism women support Instagram

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