For years, it was a bit of a squeeze in a four-room flat in Lorong Ah Soo for Madam Indranee Elizabeth Nadisen, her husband and six children. But even then, she always found the space and time to foster children.
Over her 35 years as a foster mother, 43 children experienced the love she and her family offered.
"My children were so good and they helped me in my chores. They loved the babies and treated them like their own brothers or sisters," said Madam Indranee, 77, who was herself adopted as a child.
In recognition of her tireless work as a foster mum, Madam Indranee was yesterday presented with tabla!'s seventh Community Champion Award.
The award ceremony was held at the Suntec City Convention Centre, in conjunction with the Singapore International Indian Expo 2017.
Madam Indranee received a cash donation of $10,000 from the State Bank of India, Singapore as part of the award. She has decided to donate the money to the Ramakrishna Mission and the Sree Narayana Mission.
Singapore Indian Association president and last year's tabla! Community Champion K. Kesavapany said: "Indranee serves as an inspiration to us all. In the path set by St Teresa of Kolkata, she gathered God's children unto her and lavished love and care on them."
Her son Richards Ambrose, who is a priest at the Church of the Holy Spirit in Upper Thomson, said: "She has always been a selfless person. Teaching us that love must go beyond family and friends, that love must be for all."
Madam Indranee, who started fostering because she was "bored" when her children were of school- going age, would foster babies who were just a few weeks old.
They would stay with her till they were about 21/2 years old before being put up for adoption.
The babies had either been abandoned or were in a situation where their parents could not care for them.
"It used to break my heart when they left. The child also wouldn't want to leave. They would cling to me," said Madam Indranee, who has been recognised for her work over the years through a number of awards, including the Reader's Digest Inspiring Asians Award in 2003. She has also received a mention from Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
Madam Indranee, who is not in contact with any of the children she fostered, stopped taking in kids in 2008 when her shoulders and knees started giving her trouble.
She still lives in that Hougang flat with her husband, Mr Ambrose Anthony Dorai, but life is a lot quieter now. She spends her time reading, watching television and taking walks.
For those who may want to follow in her footsteps, she said: "If you want to become a foster parent, you must be very patient and must love children... If the child is naughty and you shout at him, then the child will become even more angry and aggressive. So you must be calm and talk to them in a nice way."
Source: The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission.