Here are the 10 finalists of the 27th Exemplary Mother Award…
Mdm Norani was the sole-bread winner and caregiver for her 4 children and ailing husband. With her unconditional and unwavering love for her family, she made many sacrifices for them and was their pillar of strength. She sought financial assistance from community organisations to support her children’s education. Her eldest son attained a Bachelor with Honours in Interaction Design Arts. Mdm Norani and her children volunteer at Mendaki and High-Five Youth. Her selfless trait inspired her 2 of her children to pursue careers in the Social Service Sector.
Mdm Chng Seow Poh is currently afflicted with dementia. She was a loving mother, friend, wife and mentor. She worked hard without any complaints, helping her husband run a provision shop as her husband spent most of his time drinking and gambling, settling the chores and ensuring her children studied. She learnt how to sew and would motivate her kids by sewing beautiful dresses. She diligently took care of her family and provided emotional support for her eldest daughter who had suicidal thoughts after facing dejection. Today, all her four children are graduates, succeeding well in their own jobs and taking care of their parents.
Mdm Fatimah worked part-time as a bus conductor and cleaner to raise her 7 children and help her husband supplement the family’s income. She encouraged them to study hard, despite the family’s financial constraints, as she did not want them to be like her with only a Primary 6 qualification. Her eldest daughter graduated with a diploma and is a qualified senior staff nurse at Singapore General Hospital and her sons are pursuing their degrees at Nanyang Technological University. Mdm Fatimah and her children also actively volunteer at Kampung Ubi RC.
In 1990 at the age of 33, Mdm Shariffa had to take on the role of both a father and a mother when her husband passed on leaving her with 3 children (aged 2 months, 6 and 10 years old). She had to juggle the demands of her teaching career and mothering role as a single parent. To better provide for her children, she pursued a Master’s Degree by attending evening classes and ensured that the children went to University to have a better future. All of them are Degree holders. Mdm Shariffa continues to teach after retiring and regularly donates to the mosques and helps out the needy whenever she could.
Apart from giving the best care to her three children, Mdm Tan Jiu Pheng is also a church volunteer and has served in several leadership roles including President of the Women’s Group. Mdm Tan is also ever-ready to assist her friends such as giving them a lift to the hospital or lending a listening ear. She has imparted her community service spirit to her children. Her daughter Kai Wen, currently a President of the Ambassadorial Team in Nanyang Polytechnic, had participated in a Youth Expedition Project in Bali, and also led a team in a similar endeavour in Cambodia.
Mdm Halijah has been a foster mother with the Ministry for Social and Family Development (MSF) since 2002. Although she has three children of her own, she has taken in and cared for five foster children, three of whom have stayed with her for over a decade. She also takes in emergency placements of infants and toddlers as she believes that a family provides the best care environment for a child. In 2018, she was conferred the Long Service Award as a form of recognition for her dedication in providing a loving, secure and stable home for vulnerable children from dysfunctional families.
She gave up her engineering job to provide the special care her autistic son. A single mother of two, Suzanna has to juggle between work and caring for her children. During her divorce, she had to relocate several times and shuttled from her Pasir Panjang office to the children’s nurseries in Tampines. The family also had to seek shelter at a close relative’s place before finally moving into their own flat. To earn extra income for the family, Suzanna attended Forex Trading classes as it provided her the flexibility to care for her two children.
Mdm Rohana had to work full-time to support her two young children aged 5 and 8 years old, and her mother, after her ex-husband left them. She had to overcome many hurdles to secure a permanent job as she only had part-time secretary experience. To improve their lives, Mdm Rohana attended night classes. During this period, her mother suffered from stroke that left her paralyzed. Despite these challenges, Mdm Rohana persevered, graduated with a Diploma and eventually clinched a better-paying job. These setbacks have made her more resolute to make sure her kids succeed in school.
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 businessman. She also encourages her children to care for their ailing father.
Since she was 13, Mdm Hathoon has been selling curry puffs and kuihs to provide for her family. This continued after she her married to help supplement her husband’s income. After their divorce, she continued her pastry business to support her school-going daughters. Mdm Hathoon would deliver the curry puffs to several shops before sending her children to school. Today, with her 2 children’s support – one a Diploma holder and the other a Higher Nitec graduate – Mdm Hathoon is able to take a deserved rest from the decades of striving to raise her children the best she could.
Here are 3 finalists of the Exemplary Young Mother Award…
Elizabeth sacrificed the chance to study overseas to take care of her family after their mum’s passing. She also left teaching to be a full-time mother. With her care and guidance, her eldest son was among the top three pupils in his class and received the CDC/CCC Academic Merit Award and the School Character Award. Elizabeth is also a church volunteer and was once its Young Women President. She has raised funds for the Singapore Children’s Society, gives free tuition in her neighbourhood and makes beanies for premature babies in South-east Asia.
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.
In April 2005, Suraiyah lost her second child due to diaphragmatic hernia and spent five months to recover from post-natal trauma. Her third child is challenged with dyslexia and her youngest child is autistic. Despite these challenges, she bounced back by starting an online business selling crafts, kids’ apparel, setting up pop-up shops around the island, and also opened a small shop to earn extra income for the family. As Suraiyah’s two children have special needs, she has to close her shop early to attend to them. She helps the needy families in Indonesia by selling their handwoven bags here and providing part-time jobs for those from needy families.