Mdm Jamalia Shariff – 27th Award Winner (2019)
After her divorce, Mdm Jamalia had to rebuild her life in a rental flat with her children who were 15, 13 and 11 years old then. She only had a Primary 6 qualification and could barely speak English, but persevered, worked odd jobs to ensure there was food on the table and supported her children’s education. Even when ill, she went to work to earn for the family. Today, her daughter is a medical doctor in a Public Health Institution and second son a business man. She also encourages her children to care for their ailing father.
Ms Peria Nayakhi d/o Manivasagam – 2nd Exemplary Young Mother Award Winner (2019)
Peria Nayakhi is an energetic working mother and also an active volunteer in the community. She works as a pre-school teacher and takes care of her 3 children without external help as she wants to instill in them the importance of being independent. As Chairperson of the Punggol West Women’s Executive Committee, she created a support system for women that allows them to contribute to society using their unique talents. She also started a Freestyle Dance Interest Group where she teaches dance to kids of various ages. On top of all that, Peria Nayakhi is also studying part-time as she believes in lifelong learning.
Mdm Bibi Fatimah – 26th Award Winner (2018)
Mdm Bibi Fatimah’s resilience was tested when her husband had to stop work due to illness. “I felt there was no hope. It was a sudden event and I fell into depression,” Bibi recalls. But she pulled herself out of sadness to become the sole breadwinner and her husband’s main caregiver. By learning how to type, she was able to upgrade to be a clerk in Singapore Post. She also monitored her children’s schoolwork and was gratified when two of them graduated with university degrees and one with a polytechnic diploma.
Ms Ju Ann Thong – 1st Exemplary Young Mother Award Winner (2018)
Ju Ann Thong is the lynchpin for the family after her husband was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. She has since taken on three jobs to support the family and her husband’s treatment while caring for her three children.
To manage her duties better, Ju Ann has roped in her older son to help with some of the chores as she feels it is a good way to teach him time management, responsibility, and independence. She draws her strength from the highest power, “At the end of the day, I ask God to heal me so I can have more strength for tomorrow.”
Mdm Nooria Bte Abdul Hameed – 25th Award Winner (2017)
The title of the 25th Exemplary Mother Award belongs to Mdm Nooria Bte Abdul Hameed, a mother of two. Nominated by her younger daughter, Maharah, Mdm Nooria is a sole breadwinner of her family after her husband developed nasopharyngeal cancer in 1994. Started by doing odd jobs, things shaped up when Mdm Nooria joined a real estate firm. She entered the industry as a secretary and made her way up to become a real estate agent.
“Being a mother means you have to be there for the children. They have just been born, they will see the world, and they need a mother to start with; to teach them, advise them and be a friend.”
In 2010, Mdm Nooria and Maharah initiated a “Food Project” for three cancer-stricken families, donating $30 monthly to each. Friends and families came aboard and today, the scheme is administered by Ain Society and helps over 300 families. In addition, the duo also holds a mass birthday party annually for cancer-stricken children from low-income families.
Mdm Ling Bee Sian – 24th Award Winner (2016)
In the beginning, Mdm Ling Bee Sian was embarrassed to share that she was a single mother. When her husband sought a divorce, it was like adding salt to the wound. After all the challenges she went through with his gambling habits – taking up 3 jobs to pay off his debts, it was heart-wrenching to be left alone to fend for her 2 children.
Nevertheless, Mdm Ling Bee Sian picked herself up as she has always been a strong and independent woman. After her husband left the family, her eldest daughter went astray as she kept bad company. But Mdm Ling never gave up and she continued to stand by her family and showered them
with unconditional love
The next blow came when she fell off a two-storey high stairs after a gathering with some co-workers, due to depression and a clouded mind. Her bone structure cracked and she suffered nerve damage on the left side of her face. Though in tremendous pain, she stayed positive and pushed her inner spirit to continue fighting because she knew her children needed her.
It has been years since the horrific phase and due to her patience and willpower, Mdm Ling managed to pull through towards the sunny days. She continues to be active in community services and climbs up the career ladder to the Director position. Her children are successful in their individual fields and she now has 4 grandchildren whose presence contributes to light up her life.
Mdm Rajam – 23rd Award Winner (2015)
Mdm Rajam is truly a ‘wonder woman’. At 68, Mdm Rajam not only has mom duties, but she also has a day job as an Executive at SINDA. At night, she attends her degree classes in UniSIM. She volunteers at West Coast Community Centre during her free time.
The strength to juggle multiple roles at a time was developed in her since she was 13 when her family lost the sole breadwinner – their father. Being the eldest, she was instantly given the responsibility to assist her mother in raising her other 5 siblings. She worked to contribute towards the family income.
Mdm Rajam used her struggles to build herself into someone full of compassion, and because she had gone through a challenging phase in her life, she is determined to lead a meaningful one for herself and her family. Her 3 children are all grown up, holding prestigious posts in various firms.
Mdm Jamila Abdul Karim – 22nd Award Winner (2014)
It’s hard to imagine how anyone could ever go through so much discrimination, slapped with financial struggles and faced with endless strings of obstacles — only to overcome all these and move on towards a better life.
Growing up, the 53-year-old, never knew what it was like to have a father figure present in the family. Mdm Jamila’s father passed away when she was very young, leaving behind only little memories for her to hold on to and think about every now and then. What aggravated her life, even more, was a divorce that she never saw it coming. Those were ‘tough times’ as she preferred to think of it as, but it was the demise of the sole breadwinner in the family that pushed her to where she is today.
In everything she does, Mdm Jamila puts in a 110% effort, sweat, and soul so she could provide her daughters with something better, something good. Apart from running a food stall at Tekka Centre, Mdm Jamila is also a part-time seamstress. The struggles she went through only made Mdm Jamila more adamant that her daughters should lead comfortable lives. Hence, she made numerous sacrifices to ensure that they are provided with good education and will one day, Insya Allah, lead comfortable lives. Today, she is a proud single mom with an extended family of five daughters, two sons-in-law and a grandson.
Mdm Ajainah Sidik – 21st Award Winner (2013)
Mothers today are no longer the typical domesticated housewives of the yesteryears. Today, mothers are much more liberated, financially self-independent and have become the way of the future. But underneath it all lies a pathway full of potholes since Mdm Ajainah’s divorce 12 years ago.
The dark past not only churned undefeatable battles in her life – Mdm Ajainah too had to face the challenges of society, as she is constantly compared to the success and failure of others, while playing the decisive role as a mother. Playing the part of a single parent, caretaker to her blind sister and sole breadwinner for her entire family – she never did once complained. It is her unconditional love and care that is unmatched to anything in this world, entwined with her tireless devotion and unrecognised efforts.
No one, not even Mdm Ajainah herself or her 3 children, saw permanent separation coming. The altered future fate of her family quickly came crumbling down, leaving her to wander aimlessly with no direction to continue with life. Throughout the first year after her divorce, Mdm Ajainah became emotionally distraught. This affected her children’s performance in school, even showing signs of disinterest to continue their studies. The divorce came as a total breakdown for her family as they had to slowly pick up where they last left off and gather enough strength to start over again.
After much time off to self-reflect, Mdm Ajainah eventually realized that this isn’t the life that she wanted for her children or herself. Eventually, she had to get herself up and gradually stood strong to face her adversities. The pain that had been inflicted on her does not stop her to adapt to the change in status, but it made her even more resilient in the hardships that were yet to come. For that very bitter affair that had caused her 20 years of marriage to crumble, she became the greatest woman that her children never pictured her to be.
Mrs Mubarak Begum w/o Mohamed Siddiqe – 20th Award Winner (2012)
Mrs Mubarak was married at the tender age of sixteen. While girls her age were pursuing their ambitions, she was arranged to be married to her cousin in Singapore. Not only coming into a Singapore city a big culture shock for her but facing the trials and tribulations of being the first daughter-in-law of a big Indian Muslim family was her first taste of life challenges. She had to appease her in-law’s wishes as well as her husband’s. Her in-laws were especially stringent and traditional, expecting her to stay at home all the time and refusing her any opportunities for work outside the home. Being displaced from her family at a tender age, this was by no means a small feat.
Her willingness to learn and contribute to her household was a key factor in her growth as a mother. Raising three children through her teenage years was not easy and she had to sacrifice a lot of her time for her children and her in-laws. She was often berated causing her turmoil and she underwent traumatic and emotional stress for two decades.
In 1997, her husband was involved in a major highway accident in Indonesia causing his disability for months. When her children began their tertiary education, the family felt the financial constraints and could not afford to pay their fees in time. She could not secure a job with no working experience. Over the years, she took a course in Certificate for Pre-School Teaching in Tamil conducted by Ministry of Education and with the certificate, she was able to get a job as a Tamil Language Pre-School Teacher in 2010.
Through her dedication, all her children are successful: her eldest daughter holds a Bachelor of Education degree, her second daughter undergoing Masters of Arts in English Literature at Nanyang Technological University, his third son has been offered a degree programme while his youngest son will be sitting for
GCE ‘O’ Level.
Mdm Suraiya Kamarudin – 19th Award Winner (2011)
She is a woman of steel. Her husband left the marital home after the birth of her youngest daughter to start another family elsewhere leaving her with 4 children to raise. As all her family members were in Malaysia, she felt helpless with no one to turn for assistance. But the few words that her husband said to her before he left “you go back to your country as are not working and cannot feed the children…” spurred her on giving her the courage and determination to prove him wrong. With no financial support, but with some tailoring work at home, they were able to manage for a while until she secured a job near her home. Her meagre salary, however, barely enough to support her family. Every month they had to endure the electricity and water supply at their flat being cut countless times. Many nights her children spent their time studying with candle lights even during their exams but was always optimistic and never stopped smiling.
Even after 16 years of separation, Mdm Suraiya has no animosity towards her husband. Her children were advised to respect their father. To cope with her stress and tension, she joined the Community Centre to be involved actively with social work as a member of the Indian Activity Executive Committee, Women Executive Committee of Kaki Bukit CC and also active in the school Parent Support Group. Because of her hard work and willingness to sacrifice for her family’s happiness, her son graduated with a Master degree in Fine Arts and is a cinematographer, her second daughter is a teacher and is currently pursuing a degree course at SIM preceding her diploma in Sports Management while her youngest daughter is still studying in a secondary school.
Mrs Mahjaben Shabbir Basri – 18th Award Winner (2010)
Mrs Mahjaben family’s life had been filled with trials and tribulations and despite the odds, succeeded in overcoming them. Mrs Mahjaben came to Singapore from India hardly knowing her husband or his family. A new country, a totally new life and to top it all, a big challenge. Mrs Mahjaben also had a tough time with difficult in-laws, an ailing child and compounded with financial difficulties.
Buying a 3 room HDB flat as a shelter for the family was itself a harrowing venture as her husband was then earning only $450 per month. Medical expenses incurred for her ailing daughter added to the financial burden to the family. Nonetheless, with her prudence and faith, Mrs Mahjaben managed the house and by saving every penny, she bought basic necessities like pots and pans. Even a refrigerator and a washing machine was a luxury to her and family. To ease the financial burden, Mrs Mahjaben started giving tuition to school children, applying henna painting for brides and other odd jobs.
Mrs Mahjaben is an active lady. She joined the Resident’s Committee as Secretary and later as Chairperson, Indian Activity Executive Committee (IAEC), SINDA, CCC, PCF Kindergarten and Narpani Pearavai on top of her involvement on Burhani Group and Tsao Foundation.
Though working and volunteering long hours, she devoted quality time to her family. The sacrifices Mrs Mahjaben eventually saw her 3 children graduating, a daughter with a diploma in Optometry, and another daughter with a Diploma in Psychology while her son in National Service.
Mdm Sharifah Khadijah Alkaff – 17th Award Winner (2009)
Mdm Sharifah Khadijah Alkaff, a 55 years old single parent who on her own brought up three children, two of whom are mentally challenged, clinched the title because of her sheer determination, endurance and courage in raising her children. Her eldest son is educationally subnormal while the youngest has cerebral palsy. Hoping to raise her children in a normal, simple life, far from social pressure, she brought them with her to Brunei when she was offered a job there. She provided training to the only child of hers who is normal so that he will be able to assist her to take care of his two siblings.
Mdm Bibi Halimah Abdul Kadir – 16th Award Winner (2008)
Mdm Bibi Halimah Abdul Kadir is a single parent of five children who has been teaching intellectually disabled secondary students since 1984. Divorced when her youngest child was 5 years old, it was a most difficult period in her life, having to sell off her house, moving into a rented home and balancing her time between her career as a teacher and as a mother and father to her young children.
As a sole breadwinner, she had to work very hard, sometimes giving tuition till very late at night. Life was tough then, but she persevered. Even with her tight schedule, Mdm Bibi Halimah managed to spare her time to do community service. She started volunteering her service in 2001 by being a member of a mosque committee. She was the Honorary Secretary of the mosque and oversees the programs for special students there. She was also the chairperson of a branch of a prominent union. Recently she was approached to join Kreta Ayer CC Women Executive as an Executive Member.
Mdm Bibi is a role model for her children. Her eldest, a diploma holder, is also a Special Education Teacher and her other children are all studying for their diplomas in various polytechnics. When her children were young, she was their pillars of strength but as they grew older they were her pillar of strength. With the encouragement and full support of her children, friends and superiors, she was able to do what she aspires ie: to upgrade herself. She enrolled into a Diploma in Management Studies at SIM and now a proud Diploma holder.
Mdm Au Yong Keok – 15th Award Winner (2007)
Mdm Au Yong Keok is capable of multitasking between career and family. She contributes a lot towards family bonding by spending quality time with her children and is very supportive of her children’s involvement in school activities. In spite of her busy schedule as an engineer, she ensures constant family togetherness, maintaining a healthy family bond and always reinforce the importance of strong family values and cohesion. They have meals at home together because she believes that a family that eats together stays together.
A highly educated woman with a B.Sc (Hons) in Mathematics, three postgraduate diplomas in computing technologies and a Master of Technology from NUS, she is a firm believer in being a well-rounded individual. She is also a good sportswoman and musician who has received various awards for her sporting and music accomplishments, with her constant encouragement, motivation and confidence building, her children are well-rounded individuals too, achieving good results in their education, sports, and music.
As a caring mother, Mdm Au Yong instilled the need for her children to help others and be socially responsible, encouraging them to be actively involved in community service. She and her children actively support and participate in the various activities of the Singapore Philatelic Museum, fundraising and charity projects for Touch & Minds, Ride for Hope, Kids Walk for Cancer Kids, Geylang Senior Citizens Health & Care Centre, and other community projects.
Her children were groomed to be assets to the country so that they can be relied upon to contribute to society and give support or services when there is a need for volunteers.
Dr Priscilla Lim Siew Hong – 14th Award Winner (2006)
Dr Priscillia Lim, a 45 year-old general practitioner with eight children is an Exemplary Mother who is capable of bringing up 8 children all between 2 to 3 years apart with good education and moral values. The extent of her contribution to community service was also a substantial factor. A caring mother to her children, despite her full time job at the clinic and having to attend to the daily needs of her family which includes in-laws, she still find time to contribute to society both individually and through organisations, often bringing along her children when she visited hospices to give them exposure to community service and to brighten the atmosphere for the residents there.
Mdm Jasminder Kaur – 13th Award Winner (2005)
Mdm Jasminder Kaur is an active volunteer in community service for many years. Despite her busy schedule, she ensures that she spends quality time with her two children. The judges were impressed by her dedication to consistently serve in various community services.
Mdm Patma Bte Maun – 12th Award Winner (2004)
Mdm Patma came from a humble background and she raised her children in a similar manner. Her main priority has always been the well being of her children, be it in their education, health and others and she trained them to look out for each other. Her husband was a hawker assistant and her family income barely meets their daily requirement. When her children were studying in secondary and tertiary levels, they had to live frugally. School expenses eat a lot out of their income. Still, it was insufficient, so her children helped by giving tuition during their school days. Now all her children have graduated from the National University of Singapore and lead a comfortable life.
Her eldest son, a Project Manager, graduated with B.Eng (Hons), her second son who obtained his LLB (Hons) and subsequently an MBA is an Assistant Head of EDB. Her third son who graduated with BSc (Merit) is a Communications Manager and her daughter who obtained a BSc, is a teacher.
Mdm Aminah Abdul Rahman – 11th Award Winner (2003)
Her husband died more than 22 years ago, leaving her to take care of a son and two daughters. They were between 8 to 13 years old, the difficult years between primary and puberty. She also had to take care of her parents and her brother-in-law who lived with them. Without financial resources, Mdm Aminah was forced to leave the security of her flat to work in a factory for three months before becoming a cleaner at a school and doing other part-time jobs as well. This meant that this young lady returned home, daily, completely worn out and was still not able to rest as she had to do the house chores and attend to the needs of six people. In between jobs, she checked on her children and ensured that they were always ready for classes and had done their homework.
To complement her meagre income, she had to seek help from a welfare organisation. She felt humiliated when being interviewed by welfare officers and hoped that her children would never have to face such a prospect. Realizing the importance of education as she only received primary education, she never stops pushing them to persevere in their studies. Indeed two of her children received tertiary education and all are doing well in their careers.
Mdm Chee Ah Heng – 10th Award Winner (2002)
She had gone through trying times when her husband’s business contracts floundered. Among other things, it was particularly painful that had been cheated of large sums of money. It was a nightmare period which culminated in his having kidney problems. After his death, there were children to bring up, huge debts to settle in addition to her own personal problems. She was only 33 years old.
Not all problems could be settled but they could be lessened or circumvented. Her own parents knowing her sense of responsibility were very supportive. Help also came from her mother in laws who took care of the two youngest children while a relative allowed her to work at her coffee shop. Her eldest daughter also worked part-time there. It was painful for her to be able to visit her two children only on the weekends and to leave them there crying. Yet the little time she had was meaningfully spent with her three children.
She focused especially on the needs of her infant daughter, who was barely two years old. She vowed never to get married so that she could focus all her energies to her fatherless children. She also tried her level best to infuse proper values in them. It has been underlined with her own exemplary conducts. She had to be their role model. Hard work paid off ultimately when all three children obtained degrees and working well. Two are married and she enjoyed being with
Mdm Kermi Alwi – 9th Award Winner (2001)
Emerged a clear exemplary for her gargantuan efforts in raising fourteen children, by providing them with all their material, emotional and spiritual needs typical of past winners of the competition. In her struggle to make both end meet and to help support the family financially, Mdm Kermi had to improvise and find ways and means to contribute to the family income. It led her to selling cookies and kuehs to earn extra money to survive. Today, her children are successful in their chosen fields.
Mdm Salbiah Wir – 8th Award Winner (2000)
She led the way with her neverending will to succeed and her ability to triumph in the face of hardship. She managed to raise her children well despite being widowed and being the sole breadwinner. She even had problems in finding shelter for her and her children, as the hut that they lived in was demolished and was rebuilt several times over. A strong lady, Mdm Salbiah toiled day and night, sewing clothes and making kueh to supplement the family’s income.
Mdm Asmah Bee Bte Mohd Din – 7th Award Winner (1999)
Mdm Asmah Bee endured endless fortitude and strength in the face of adversity. Her twenty-four years of marriage were filled with pain and silent sufferings. Notwithstanding the physical abuse she suffered for over two decades, she managed to pick up the pieces and raise her family single-handedly. Her children are a measure of her success as a mother and her tenacious faith in life has inspired them to achieve greater heights despite the odds. Her life experiences combined with her dedication to raising children made her a winner and a clear inspiration to mothers everywhere.
Mdm Norliah Saman – 6th Award Winner (1998)
She is a single mother of seven children who worked tirelessly in multiple jobs, sold Malay delicacies and sewed clothes to earn a living. Her husband passed away in 1975 and she was left with the uphill task of raising her children on her own. Setbacks aplenty, she still managed to nurture her children well enough and provide for them till they achieved success in their chosen professions.
Mdm Sharifah Shaikha Ibrahim Alsree – 5th Award Winner (1997)
Since the death of her husband, she was the sole breadwinner of her household and sole provider of her children’s daily needs. She also instilled in them the necessary values that have enabled them to succeed in life such as honesty, responsibility and courage. A clear example of thriving against the odds!
Mdm Rahamah Abdullah – 4th Award Winner (1996)
A devoted mother of six, a symbol of sheer determination despite poverty and hardships, Mdm Rahaman struggled and toiled with multiple jobs, both at home and outside just to be able to raise her children alone, as her husband was often out at sea. Aside from instilling the qualities of good citizenship to her children, she also opened up the windows of opportunity and pushed them to go for tertiary education.
Mdm Teo Mee Lan – 3rd Award Winner (1995)
A devoted mother who despite the many hardships, raised her children with unconditional love and undying devotion. She moved to Singapore at a tender age of 18 to follow her father and got married a couple of years later. She had nine children and worked tirelessly on a vegetable farm.
In addition, she also took on jobs as a cleaner at a clinic and a caretaker at a neighbourhood community center in order to support the family financially, putting in above 20 hours daily. Despite the hardships, she still managed to put five of her children through to university. All of them have been successful in their chosen professions. As a measure of her success, all of her children have been instilled with good virtues, making them responsible and filial.
Mdm Noraisah Yusak – 2nd Award Winner (1994)
An extraordinary mother, who battled poverty throughout her life, she was determined not to let her four children experienced hardships she had been through. The need to supplement her husband’s meagre earnings, drove her to seek her own income to help support her children and pay for the bills and their educational expenses.
She worked as a production operator and a chambermaid for long and unenviable hours while simultaneously looking after her children and the household. A firm believer in a balanced education, she is the pillar of strength and a role model to her children, all of whom managed to graduate from
Mdm Lim Geok Lan – 1st Award Winner (1993)
She set the benchmark with her struggle to raise her children and provide them with tertiary education while simultaneously aiding her ailing husband’s battle against cancer until his eventual death. As the sole breadwinner, she had to take on several jobs to make ends meet to ensure that her children had enough. Her role as mother extended beyond just looking after her children and providing their needs. She was also a father, teacher, and companion to them.