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Instrument Of Change

Activist Braema Mathi has been at the forefront of human rights in Singapore

3/17/2015 11:41:06 AM
written By : Nithya Subramanian Print

10295383_292289224296691_8885415582222431532_oIn a country where women are obsessed with rebonded, straight hair, it is a welcome change to see someone with natural, wild curls. While Braema Mathiaparanam (Mathi) might not approve of this sexist introduction, it is a good indicator of how she stands out in the crowd for her valuable work done for people from all walks of life. Whether it is setting up the Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund, leading the women’s group AWARE spearheading a migrant workers’ advocacy group (Transient Workers Count Too) or being the Founder-President of the regional group, MARUAH (Singapore Working Group for ASEAN Human Rights Mechanism), her ability to stand up for these worthwhile causes makes her truly different. Not afraid to speak her mind, she said that organisations like hers could become “good irritating partners with the government” and eventually bring about a change.

The former Nominated Member of Parliament in Singapore, Mathi has won awards for her journalism and for her role as an advocate for justice. Recently she was awarded the Civil Advocate of the Year (2014) by the Singapore Advocacy Awards, apart from being honoured the Woman of the Year (Community) by the Indian Association in 2005. She has also published articles and book chapters on gender, ASEAN and human rights.

In an exclusive interview with India Se, the 57-year-old Singaporean activist shared her life and her goals. She said that her activism streak comes from her home, where independent thought was encouraged, and was reinforced later by some inspiring teachers at school.

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