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Extra Hari Raya joy for family

Madam Rokiya with her husband Mohamad Rafi and their six children (from left) Mohamad Raihan, Raihanah Maisarah, Raihanah Masturah, Raihanah Mahirah, Mohamad Rafiqi and Raihanah Maisurah.
The Straits Times - August 8, 2013
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Extra Hari Raya joy for family

For Madam Rokiya Camaloudine, this year's Hari Raya Aidilfitri is extra special. While her family will be welcoming the end of Ramadan, she will also be celebrating something else: A new diploma in fashion technology (merchandising and marketing).

It will not only allow the 38-year-old to pursue her dream of working in the fashion industry, but also give her another way to give back to society.

"With the skills I have, I hope to help others who didn't have the same opportunities as me," said the mother of six who already volunteers at mosques and her children's schools.

"Mothers with young children often find it difficult to work, so I hope to teach them how to sew so that they can earn some money."

It was what Minister- in-charge of Muslim Affairs Yaacob Ibrahim called for in his Hari Raya Aidilfitri message yesterday, when he urged Muslims to do their part in building a cohesive Singapore by helping those outside the community.

Madam Rokiya's diploma, which she will receive in November from the Singapore Workforce Development Agency, was funded by the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore's Empowerment Partnership Scheme.

"Every Hari Raya is a joyful occasion, but this one is extra special for the family because we can now stand on our own two feet," said Madam Rokiya, whose own resilience has seen the family through difficult times.

In 2010, the freelance administrator spent Hari Raya in hospital when she was hit by a stroke. Her husband, 37, now a government environmental health officer, stopped working to take care of her.

Later, Madam Rokiya found a course that interested her. "Some people didn't think I could do it. Sometimes, I felt the same. But all the effort has been worth it."

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