SINGAPORE - Mother of four Siti Baizurah Kassim quit her factory worker job in 1988 to care for her children.
In 2005, she decided to work again as they were older and in school full-time.
It was daunting initially for the 46-year-old with just one O-level credit, but she jumped in with both feet, first becoming a centre attendant with pre- school NTUC First Campus and later pursuing part-time classes to become an infant care teacher.
Now she makes up to $1,800 a month, more than four times what she earned as a part-time factory worker.
Yesterday, Ms Siti was one of about 200 workers and human resource staff lauded at the annual May Day partnership awards for their efforts to improve productivity, upgrade their skills and adapt to a tougher economy.
Ms Siti had to go for night classes thrice a week over two years, with much less time to spend on making dinner or supervising her children in doing their homework. But she tried to turn this into a positive message for her children. "I told them if mummy can study, so can you," she said with a laugh.
"I had to restart my engine, and get myself in the mindset to learn again."
Like her, fellow awardee Vimmala Devi Munusamy, 53, had been a housewife for a decade before rejoining the workforce when her children started primary school.