Shining spotlight on supermums

Anugerah Ibu Kiwanis 2024 recipients smiling for a group photo with the organisers and Kiwanis members. — Photos: RAJA FAISAL HISHAN/The Star

EIGHT mothers, whose courage and tireless dedication ensured their children with special needs have access to opportunities and care, were honoured with the Anugerah Ibu Kiwanis 2024.

Kiwanis Malaysia district governor Michael Chiew said “a mother’s love knows no bounds”.

“I am overwhelmed and moved after having spoken to mothers who have selflessly dedicated themselves to enriching their children’s lives while inspiring other parents,” he said.

The mothers were feted at the awards ceremony, themed “Recognising Special Mothers”, which was held at a hotel in Shah Alam.

The event was graced by Sultan of Selangor Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah and Tengku Permaisuri of Selangor Tengku Permaisuri Norashikin.

The awards were given to Sia Siew Chin, Zaharah Ali, Cordelia Lee Suet Fun, Tan Ken Moi, Wan Noriah Wan Ramli, Chia Gek Hong, Hanizan Hussin and Prof Dr Loke Siew Phaik.

Despite her own physical limitations, wheelchair-bound Sia, 58, tirelessly ensured the well-being and growth of her daughter Ng Pui Yarn, 25, and son Ng Tin Yarn, 18, embodying resilience and selflessness in her caregiving role.

“Armed with hope and a mother’s love, I have soldiered on to care for Pui Yarn, who has muscular dystrophy, a condition that causes progressive muscle weakness and Tin Yarn, who struggles with a learning and attention deficit disorder,” she said.

Sia added that she not only tended to their physical needs but also their intellectual and emotional development.

“I engage in tutoring and mentoring activities to ensure Pui Yarn and Tin Yarn get the educational support they need.

“For their mental well-being, I actively encourage activities that stimulate their minds and promote overall health,” she said.

Sia added that Pui Yarn was slow in learning but was doing her first year in law studies.

Wheelchair-bound Sia tirelessly tends to the needs of her two special children despite her own physical limitations.Wheelchair-bound Sia tirelessly tends to the needs of her two special children despite her own physical limitations.

Sia’s resilience shines through as she believes that with a lot of patience and hope, all will be good.

Zaharah, whose youngest son was born with Down Syndrome, said she had persevered to raise her five children as a single mother.

“My son Muhammad Naim Zaina Salleh, 20, has faced various health challenges since he was a child,” said the 62-year-old.

Zaharah said she had enrolled him in a rehabilitation therapy programme at Kiwanis and its Community Rehabilitation Centre until he was seven.

During such difficult times, Zaharah said one must have a strong spirit.

“I have to have a strong spirit to be able to encourage my children to be independent and face the challenges of life with perseverance,” she said.

As for Lee, her son Patrick Gong Heshan, seven, was diagnosed with Alagille syndrome, a rare genetic disease affecting multiple systems in the body, including the liver and heart.

“Initially, I was devastated but I decided to focus on ensuring my son leads a fulfilling life.

“I began empowering Patrick from a young age, using creativity and music to uplift and encourage him.

“I have written two songs, including one titled Never Give Up as I want to build resilience and belief in Patrick” said Lee, who has become a pillar of support for mothers with special needs children.

“I offer words of encouragement, give out handmade sock dolls and even conduct sock doll classes to uplift and empower other mothers.

“Simple actions like this inspire hope among families facing similar challenges,” she said.

Kiwanis Malaysia Academy chairman Datuk Fatimah Saad said the award acknowledged the struggles, sacrifices and devotion of mothers who bring up their special needs children.

“A mother’s love reflects that unconditional bond.

“All are inspiring examples of how mothers or parents bravely persist and overcome obstacles to obtain care that their children need and should receive,” added Fatimah.

Each recipient received RM5,000 cash as well as other prizes.

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