CEO & Founder, Singapore Fashion Runway
(In her 40's)
Her story (as shared by her nominator)
Eileen Yap started Singapore Fashion Runway (SFR) when she was 40 years old, 6 years ago. Now, SFR is a social enterprise that nurtures people with special needs and disadvantaged groups through its Fashion for a Social Cause movement. Eileen Yap also started an inclusive centre in 2018, where the PwDs (People with Disabilities) can be nurtured weekly at her Fashion for a Social Cause centre.
In 2020, she started a retail crafts store so that the caregivers and youths from SFR can be groomed to be trainers to teach others how to sew/ craft. In Jan 2021, she started a retail store at The Artground, to train the youths on retail management. SFR will be starting a Food for a Social Cause department soon in May 2021, so that more youths with special needs and caregivers can be given an opportunity to serve F&B in a foodcourt at Eat Talk.
Through Eileen, she also leads an inclusive contingent in Chingay Parade for the past 3 years. In 2020, SFR also won the Best Travelling Dance contingent in Chingay Parade.
Eileen walks the talk in serving the underprivileged families and youths. Not only does she strive hard to train them a skill, she also opens many new opportunities so that they can be taught in authentic environments. She also inculcate value in the youths, so that they are not pitied upon, but truly respected and earned their worth through her social enterprise Singapore Fashion Runway.
In her words:
To give joy and hope to the families with special needs and disadvantaged groups, as well as to see them having a support group through what I have built through Singapore Fashion Runway.
Biggest challenge thus far
People with disabilities can be an inspiration to many. If we get to know them, nurture them, many can be great role models. Initially, the challenge is how to have a diversified group of special needs be taught and nurtured, but slowly, they all can learn, cope well and help one another. Some became trainers too teaching others what we taught them.
what judges say
Inspiring to see how she used fashion to setup a social enterprise that nurtures people with special needs and disadvantaged groups, empowering them with skills to survive in society!