Family keeps them going

Family keeps them going
Nurazhar Maarof (left), a secondary school drop-out finally graduates from poly at the age of 29; Amirah Rosman (right) had to overcome the odds to graduate as the top student of the optometry course.

As a child, she watched her father leave home every evening to work the night shift.

He worked for two companies, sometimes clocking 16 hours a day.

When she was older, her mother worked as a janitor from 11pm to 7am, six days a week.

This month, she will be graduating from Ngee Ann Polytechnic's (NP) optometry course as the top student with a GPA of 3.9 and has made a big sacrifice herself - by forgoing studying for a degree so she can work to help support the family.

Miss Nur Amirah Rosman, 20, and her family have never had it easy.

Her two brothers, Raihan, 22, and Amir, 14, have both been diagnosed with Asperger syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder. Both brothers have problems communicating properly.

Mr Raihan is enrolled at the Association For Person with Special Needs, picking up skills so he can be employed in the future. Amir is at Towner Gardens School.

Her father, Mr Rosman Rostam, 49, works as a supervisor in the cargo freight department at Changi Airport. He would work extra hours every day, even after a 12-hour shift.

Her mother, Madam Satirah Jaffar, 46, is a janitor at the airport.

To earn extra money, her parents would also work on weekends and public holidays.

Since she was young, Miss Amirah has understood why they had to do this.

Her polytechnic education was funded by a scholarship, but she has decided to forgo further studies for now so she can start working to support the family.

She said: "An overseas education is too expensive and it is difficult to secure a scholarship."

Another option is to study part-time locally, which would cost about $50,000, something the family cannot afford.

Miss Amirah, who has been working at an optician shop for the past month, earning about $2,000 a month, has chosen to look ahead instead.

She said: "I choose to look at this situation positively. I can ease the burden of my family and gain work experience at the same time."

She also helps out with the household chores and cares for her brothers, even more so after her mother started working six years ago.

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