SWEA Singapore has chosen a new president and is preparing for an intense year with a big meeting with members from all over the world.
“SWEA is an amazing network of interesting and powerful women,” the new President Eveline Sidenvall says.
SWEA, Swedish Women’s Educational Association is a global non– profit organization and a network of Swedish and Swedish speaking women who are or have been resident abroad. SWEA has approximately 7,500 members in 33 countries. In Singapore the association started 28 years ago, the rotation of members is high because many are expats with contracts lasting just a few years, which also gives a very lively and active club.
“SWEA is a great way to experience our new hometown and make new friends. We support and help each other when being so far away from our usual network in Sweden. Moreover, we have fun as we explore our new hometown,” says Eveline Sidenvall who, before she became President, was responsible for SWEA activity group.
SWEA Singapore is an active club, which has arrangements almost every week. It could be coffee meetings, restaurant visits, guided tours at interesting places, walks and a couple of times a year they hold a party where also husbands and friends are welcome.
“On the spring schedule there is for example hiking in a mangrove swamp where one can meet wild monkeys and crocodiles. We have recently been exploring backstage at the national stage Esplanade and had a lecture about the Chinese New Year – it was very interesting. The program is diverse,” says Eveline.
In Singapore SWEA works in close cooperation with the Swedish Supplementary School, Swedish Embassy, SBAS (Swedish Business Association of Singapore) and the Swedish Church. SWEA and the Swedish Church has a long tradition of cooperation.
“Every year we organize a Lucia procession and the Swedish National Day, together with the Church to celeberate our Swedish traditions even when we live abroad.”
Born in Holland
Eveline Sidenvall was born in Holland and moved to Sweden in 1985 to work as a physiotherapist when there were no jobs in Holland. Once in Sweden, she met a Swedish man, married and stayed. Two years ago Eveline moved to Singapore because of her husband Håkan’s work at Siemens. Their two adult sons are studying in Sweden.
“I joke and say they could not find any Swedish woman to this important post. But I have lived in Sweden as long as in the Netherlands so I am probably Swedish anyway,” she concludes.
In Sweden, she had her own business and worked with ergonomics and with change management for workplaces that transform into modern, flexible offices.
“My plan was to work with that in Singapore too, but unfortunately I did not get a work permit,” she says.
Instead, she engaged in SWEA and takes advantage of the opportunity to discover Singapore and Asia. She is studying Chinese medicine and also practicing Thai Chi and aims to become a teacher in it before she moves back to Sweden in a few years. She leads a very active life; health and wellness being close to her heart.
Eveline is an experienced board member with experience in various assignments in Sweden: “I’ve been president of a Rotary Club of Sweden, President of the Athletics Association of Finspång and held various directorships in the Ladies Circle.”
SWEA Singapore has a busy year ahead of them as the department is preparing for a big SWEA regional meeting in September– October. It is estimated that there will be members flying in from all over the world to join in the meetings and also to experience this unique world metropolis. They will offer an extensive program of excursions, restaurant visits and also a joint trip to Cambodia.
“The planning is in full swing. There will be two days of sightseeing to Singapore’s highlights, lovely restaurant visits followed up by a trip to Cambodia and Angkor Vat, it is exciting.”
Text and photos: Maria Sehlin