This single mother inspires many with her tremendous courage.
|PHOTO COURTESY OF CECILIA QUAH|
Seven years ago Cecilia Quah thought all was lost when she separated from her husband. Yet, in spite of the heartbreak and disappointment, she picked herself up and was determined to move on in life, to raise and shoulder the expenses of bringing up her two children (both below 10 years of age then) single-handedly.
Although a single mother, Quah had a strong desire to bring love and happiness to those around her. She decided to join City Harvest Community Services Association as a volunteer to work with underprivileged children. Her motivation was to give these young ones “a glimpse of hope in this broken world.”
While Quah’s road to recovery was particularly challenging, she managed to balance the demands of her job as a teacher and being both “mummy” and “daddy” to her children.
Her role as a single mother with a passion for teaching is not one for the faint-hearted. Quah recalls times when she had to walk in the rain to send her children to school, even before the school gates opened, so that she could hurry off to teach in the morning session.
On top of her personal challenges, Quah also took on the responsibility of finding her unemployed father a job, and enrolling her younger brother, an early school leaver, into a private school so that he could attain some skills.
As a volunteer for CHCSA, Quah visited and helped many children from low-income families by giving them free tuition. She even sponsored some of them for enrichment camps. Often, Quah would go the extra mile to help parents cope with various stages of parenthood by offering practical assistance and sharing her experiences.
Through her volunteer work, Quah noticed that some of the children under her care had hidden talents. She sought the permission of the parents and brought these children to audition for the first musical production by YoungTalents, which was staged at the Victoria Theatre in 2008. Her efforts paid off when these children were given the opportunity to perform on stage.
Yeow Yong Wen, a 10-year-old girl who has central processing learning disability, gave an outstanding performance on the night of the musical. For Yeow, this proved to be a great morale booster, and she has since become more confident and vocal.
Despite a life that is full of pressing and urgent demands, Quah keeps increasing her capacity as an individual, seeking to improve the quality of life for others with her unceasing, tireless acts of kindness and service to her family, her students and the children whom she volunteers for.