Secondary 2 student Diana (not her real name) and her older siblings stay in school to study because there is no space for them to do so in their two-room rental flat.
Their flat, in Jalan Sultan, houses 15 people from two families. Some of the 10 children aged five to 20 sleep on the bare floor at night and study at a table in the lift landing.
Diana said she likes studying, especially mathematics. But she added that she would rather pore over her books at home. "I want to stay at home more because I like to take care of my younger cousins," said the 14-year-old, who hopes to become a teacher.
Her mother, Jennifer (not her real name), 45, works as a hospital clerk to support the families. Jennifer's husband suffered a stroke last year and is unemployed.
Yesterday, they opened their home to 13 volunteers from property developer CapitaLand, who gave the walls a fresh coat of paint and brought in new furniture like shelves and mattresses.
The volunteers were among over 200 CapitaLand staff and senior management who fanned out across Singapore to give 20 underprivileged homes a makeover as part of the company's first Volunteer Day. The initiative was held in conjunction with CapitaLand's 13th anniversary.
CapitaLand president and group chief executive Lim Ming Yan, who helped to paint the walls at Jennifer's house, said: "We hope that through efforts like this we can get more people conscious of what is happening around them. Hopefully, more people will be chipping in."
The homes were selected by several volunteer welfare organisations.