Tamar Village was first established in 2010 and our main base is currently in Singapore. Our heart is to reach out and take time to stop for one person at a time and bring hope, help and healing to Red Light Districts, by walking a journey of restoration with individuals and family units.
As lives are restored, we are beginning to see them also reach out to their communities and bring positive changes to the lives of others around them.
Our 2 founders, Shih Shu Hui and Lois Loh travelled to Pattaya Thailand in 2010 to visit Tamar Center. Tamar Center reaches out to Thai Girls who have been unwittingly forced into prostitution by either their family or other circumstances. The center rehabilitates and equips the girls with various skills that they can use to find a legitimate job once they return to their hometowns.
As our founders returned to Singapore, they wondered if they could do the same thing in Singapore. They continued to walk the streets of the Red Light District in Singapore, Geylang for a year and their hearts grew in compassion towards the street ladies, trapped in prostitution. This led them to start Tamar Village.
A Skill Centre for the Ladies Focus was set up. Outreaches to street ladies began. Classes for skills such as baking and jewelry making were conducted.
We began to see ladies come to the centre to seek an alternative lifestyle as a personal choice and a desire for a new change in life.
One of our volunteers, Rachel Seah (who is now one of our leaders in our Strategic Leadership Team) developed a heart for the children in the streets and started a children program called SHINE KIDS.
Today, SHINE KIDS has grown into our Children & Youth Focus (ACORN) that runs a tuition program and children & youth programs.
Our first lady in our Ladies Focus, who has a heart for sewing, stepped into the doors of Tamar Village and the first sewing machine was purchased.
Soon, more ladies made decisions to not be influenced or be in the trades of the Red Light District, to join our restoration program.
Counselling was introduced into our restoration program for our Ladies Focus.
As a team, a decision was made for the Skill Centre to focus on sewing products, as a way to help our ladies be able to iron out negative life habits that were detrimental to self and family and to form good character values, that will bring stability and wise decision making, to many areas of their life.
This took place as we begin to reinforce the fact that the ladies are not here simply for employability but to embark on a journey of holistic growth in attitudes, habits and character.
The skill centre for sewing became a tool for character development and habits transformation, to prepare our ladies for future work, future stability and to learn how to handle relationships well.
A holistic approach to address practical life issues, such as housing, legal matters, education of their children, marriage issues, parenting attitudes, clearing of debts, in the lives of our ladies and family, was also established.
We also began to journey with the spouses of our ladies to resolve legal matters and job searches as, we saw the need to not just restore individuals but family units.
A video documentary, titled “2nd Chance” that explains our work with individuals from the Red Light District, was launched. Awareness about the needs of the Red Light District began to increase.
Renovation works took place in the entire centre to bring about a transformation of the physical state. The sewing room also expanded to a bigger room, as more ladies came on board our restoration program.
Children and youths in our Children and Youth Focus (ACORN) who were not attending school were placed back into the school system.
After 5 years of pioneering work, our 2 founders felt that it was time to pass on the baton of leadership. A new ministry leader, Mercy Ho was appointed and Tamar Village entered into a season of establishing core structures.
Today, both founders have released all executive duties, while they remain in our founders’ circle to offer consultation and guidance when needed and are still invited for talks, workshops and important events.
One of our founders, Shu-Hui still visits us from South Africa to spend time with our team of leaders, volunteers and supporters. Shu Hui also sits on the Eldership Team of Tamar Village.
Our first individual who is on the “selling” end of the sex trade embarks on our Restoration Program and decides to leave the sex trade and activities of the Red Light.
A Strategic Leadership Team and Eldership Team were formed to practice team leadership and to have strong accountability to lead and direct the ministry together.
A Core Leadership Team was formed as anchor volunteers took on specific leadership roles and responsibilities and a clear ministry structure was drawn out.
5 of our ladies and their families, finally got a house they could call their own after 1-3 years of journeying with each of them and walking them through legal and social matters.
The heart to restore family units of the individuals whom we were working with grew and a Men Focus was established, to journey with the spouses of our ladies in our Ladies’ Focus restoration program.
The vision and mission of Tamar Village expands with a heart for Asia.
With a holistic approach to restore lives and family units through social assistance, life skills, healing and therapy and work skills, a Restoration Centre, is established.
The “skill centre” for sewing is renamed as a Work Skill Program under the Restoration Centre and becomes 2 sewing rooms, as we journey deeper with our ladies in each sewing room and seek to help them dream and hope for a better future, according to their personal choices.
4 men went through the initiatives of our Men Focus – Work Transition Program, that led them to find full-time jobs, as they were helped in practical ways at a time of great need and also restored in dignity, self-worth and a sense of responsibility.
Linda Herman sits on the Eldership Team of Tamar Village.
A 2nd Work Skill Program, focused on Coffee Barista Skills and a 3rd Work Skill Program, focused on Wood Making Skills (specifically for the men), were established to continue to develop values, character, habits and positive mindsets in the different lives we engage and journey with.
The Men Focus opens up to men who have decided to leave the work involving/revolving around the sex trade or have chosen to not be influenced by or involved in the trades of the Red Light District; gain a second chance in life and pursue a different trade.
Cooking, Gardening and Housekeeping /Centre Maintenance are introduced as part of the Work Skill Programs in the Restoration Centre.
We begin to see men who have decided to leave the work involving/revolving around the sex trade or have chosen not to be influenced by or involved in the trades of the Red Light District, walk into our Restoration Centre to embark on a new change in life.
- We are teachable and humble in our service
- We care deeply for the families we serve and our co-workers
- We work in inter-generational teams with patience and self-control
- We grow in doing things right and with integrity
5. We forgive wrongdoings and learn from our mistakes
6. We seek to be honest and transparent to all
7. We honour others and work in unity
8. We persist joyfully in the face of challenges