“Study hard so that you can secure a brighter future.”
That was the constant reminder and advice that Mdm Junaidah, a single mother of four, imparts to her schoolgoing children.
As a single mother, Mdm Junaidah, a 45-year-old part-time janitor, was forced to raise all four of her children singlehandedly.
Her husband passed away in 2009 after a serious injury to the head.
Apart from her three children ages 14,13, and 12, Mdm Junaidah is also a caretaker for an adopted child, age 14.
Three of her children are currently studying in secondary school while the youngest had just sat for her Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE).
All five of them stay in a two-room rental unit.
According to Mdm Junaidah, her mother is helping her to look after two of her children. They stay with Mdm Junaidah’s mother from Monday to Friday.
Her mother’s support in helping to take care of her children while she works gave her the strength and hope to pick herself up after losing her beloved husband.
“I work hard for the future of my children. I know that they no longer have a father, so I have to step in and be their father as well,” said Mdm Junaidah.
“That is my priority,” she added.
Mdm Junaidah starts work at 8.30am and ends at 12.30pm at an office located in Kaki Bukit Crescent.
However, the meagre salary that Mdm Junaidah brings home—of about $800 monthly—is not enough to support the daily necessities of her family.
For that reason, she decided to apply for the Zakat Financial Assistance from the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis), following the passing of her husband. Mdm Junaidah’s application was approved and she has been receiving Zakat assistance since 2009.
“I was extremely happy when I found out that my request for Zakat assistance was approved. The Zakat assistance has helped me tremendously in settling the rent payment, conservancy charges, and utility bills,” said Mdm Junaidah.
“I am also able to buy groceries and other necessities. I am truly grateful that Muis has been helping me for this long,” she added.
Apart from the Muis Zakat Financial Assistance, Mdm Junaidah also receives assistance from the Darul Ihsan Orphanage.
Despite struggling as a single parent and as the sole breadwinner of the family, Mdm Junaidah cares very much for her children’s studies. Hence, she is also thankful that all of her children have the opportunity to attend tuition provided by the Bartley Christian Church. The tuition classes are held every Saturday.
According to Mdm Junaidah, her children have been attending the free tuition classes provided by the church since they were in kindergarten.
Every Sunday, on the other hand, her children attend weekend madrasah classes at Sallim Mattar Mosque.
Mdm Junaidah herself will attend programes organised by the mosque during her free time.
“Perhaps, many parents harbour hopes that their children excel in school with high marks and grades. For me, I just hope that they give their best and are able to move up to the next stage in education,” said Mdm Junaidah.
Mdm Junaidah’s children has thus far, made her proud. Recently, one of her children was awarded the Edusave bursary for excellent academic performance.
“I always remind them that, although they are in secondary school, they cannot be relaxed. They have to study hard until the next level. I don’t want them to ‘stay back’,” said Ms Junaidah.
She believes that if other children can do it, so can they.
Even though they do not have the perfect life and they have their struggles as a family, Mdm Junaidah said that they are still happy.
“Life has obstacles and challenges but we have to keep living,” she said.
She wanted to leave a piece of advice for single mothers out there:
“For the single mothers, please don’t give up easily. As mothers, we have to strengthen ourselves for the sake of our children.”
Mdm Junaidah also wanted to thank Muis for the help rendered via Zakat Financial Assistance.
“With Muis Zakat Financial Assistance, I don’t feel suffocated by our financial difficulties. I am so grateful because I am still working but there are others who are still helping me. Alhamdulillah,” she said.
Mdm Junaidah's family falls in two of the categories of 8 asnaf who have rights over Zakat – asnaf fakir and miskin.
Asnaf Fakir and Miskin refers to one who has insufficient means of livelihood to meet his or her basic needs and the Zakat disbursement includes monthly financial assistance, special assistance during Ramadan, and supportive programme grants.
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