Salams everyone, especially mummies
This is my first blog post in errm about 20 years! *Gasps* Hence , do pardon me if you find the post rather amateurish. Anyway, when we first revamped the website, i told our designer, Adzlan that i want a blog page to start blogging again and to allow my stakeholders and the public to have a peak into my thoughts as well as a form of contribution.
I thought its rather apt as well to create my very first blog re-entry post on 30th April 2019 because 6 years ago on this very date, Iham child care attained the license and approval from Ecda to run as a child care centre and we started our very 1st day of enrolment with 10 students on 2nd May 2013! It was such a momentous moment for both Shaik and I because we had soooo many challenges just to get to that moment.
Down memory lane…
I was never into business , not even when my dad offered me a job at his travel company and i never had the intention to start one either. It was only when hubbie and i were getting really tired of sending our two oldest to enrichment classes every day including weekends and the kids were also complaining that they had no rest days that we realised that it wasnt something we want to continue doing with our second batch of kids ( yes, we made them in batches! 😛 ) so i was looking for a holistic school that had everything, kiasu mum that i am! However, i couldnt find anything that was holistic and have an islamic component to it. So, while i was at one of the expo, i chanced upon a Malaysian child care centre that was looking for a Singapore franchisee and i took up their invitation to go over to KL on a day trip to take a look at their schools, just like that! Told my dad and he said go for it and even paid for the plane ticket to encouraged me. I was still working as a secondary school teacher then and i remembered the flight was on a saturday at 6am! I almost didnt even make it for that flight but i did and Alhamdulillah that was the start to it all! I didnt take up the franchise because i wanted the freedom of creating my curriculum and program but that visit changed my life and im glad that my husband and dad supported my crazy idea even though they couldnt really see where all this was going.
When i returned, first thing i did was to hire a principal. I eventually ended hiring her for 1.5 years before my child care started.. *rolls eyes* ( how come they dont have emoticons here? ) Of course i didnt know it would take soooo long to get a child care space, how could i when i thought it was super easy to set up one? While waiting for the cc to begin , we actually did a few test projects; enrichment classes at Tampines west cc as well as exhibitions at Expo.
We ended up doing everything from scratch; logos, handbooks, approvals, etc. You name it and i have probably gone through it all, failing at least twice in everything i do but getting back up again and raring to go! I had this vision which is super cliche but it was my vision of my child care centre. Those who had our very first handbook would see the first paragraph reading as “Ilham chiild care is an islamic centre in a bungalow house”… because that was how i envisioned it to be! Alas, Allah swt had other plans for Ilham CC. So,we started out finding our first premise and everytime our conversion to child care centre was rejected by URA.. 18 Jalan Selamat, No.9 Joo Chiat Place, all of these were rejected and all these while i was already building up my team of 1 principal and 5 teachers, all of whom we are paying salary without an actual centre!! ( Alhamdulillah to my dad who loaned us all this money and for having the patience to tahan while i go make all these stupid decisions he he he )
Failure after failure….
Can you imagine? We had already tenanted the 3 storey shophouse at Joo Chiat Place, renovated the 1st floor, planned for an open house on the next day with 35 registered participants and on that day we received the news from URA that our premise is not approved for the child care conversion… *double gasps & tears* . Hence, we had no choice but to call all the parents to inform them of the news but im proud to say that 10 out of that 35 parents believed in us and stayed on. i was pregnant with my 4th child, Ilham ( yes, hence the name! ) then and i was so much hoping that i would secure a place before i gave birth but God had better plans. Ilham was born on 19th December 2012 and he needed medical attention and was placed in Nicu for 21 days. I couldnt even breastfeed him but you see Allah knows what i needed and not what i wanted.. somehow when i looked back at the turn of events, i realised how much He shows His love to me, SubhanAllah. Knowing that i still have an uncompleted mission, hubbie and i went down to inspect a site at Marine Parade 3 days after i gave birth.. i couldnt imagine the strength and determination i had then but i guess i had no choice as my dad had already invested close to 100k by then and i had those 10 parents waiting for our site. Alas,the marine parade was not meant to be and we eventually settled on Enterprise One, 1 kaki bukit road #01-20 as our first premise that was Approved!!! Yeah! Alhamdulillah!
However, my challenges didnt stop there. We had our first open house and it was received with overwhelming response but hubbie and i were new to this thing called business and leadership. We were so naive in our perceptions of people and managing them so we did badly at it… 🙁 ( i really need those emoticons lah )
So, one week before our licensing my principal.. yes the one who i hired 1.5 years before I started my child care went missing. She is a Singaporean but stayed in JB so she was untraceable! Imagine how i felt! One week before the climax of 1.5 years of work, all might be gone just like that! But we are no quitter, so hubbie and i pulled up our socks and pushed on! We almost slept everyday at the child care centre so thank God to our helpers and parents for their support making sure our children at home were okay. But guess what?
After the licensing officer came and checked the premise, we had to make some rectifications. In the midst of all of these, 5 of our teachers resigned… at the same time! Best part, they even informed the licensing officer.
This time, i broke down. I just couldnt take it.
i called my dad down and my bestfriend with my husband and we talked, discussed. I told them there is No Way we can stop now. Like legit, no way! ( using my 14 year old daughter’s language for effect 😛 ) So, we pressed on. By Allah’s miracle and the big heart of our licensing officer, we managed to get 5 teachers, one principal and the license we really needed, given to us on 30th April 2013! Operations started on 2nd May 2013 with 10 students and by end june 2013, we had another 17 students. By December 2013, we were running at full capacity and that year we held our first graduation ceremony with one graduand and my dad, Haji Ayoob Angullia as our first guest of honour.Alhamdulillah!
So drama right.. but you know, when i looked back and analyse the challenges i had, i realised that what i thought was sorrow and misery then was a way for God to save and help me because He gave me better teams and He taught me the value of perseverance, resilience, never give up attitude and He taught me to learn everything from scratch.. Most importantly, He taught me never to rely on anyone or anything but Him. For this, im eternally grateful.
Thank you too to one set of parent who never gave up on us.. who up to now continues to trust her children with us, who was among the first 10 who sent their child to our centre ( she still keeps our first open house flyer, Masya’Allah! ) and went on to enrol her other 2 children in our centre. To Mdm Syaidah and Mr Mudzaffar, parents of Dian Haziqah, Daffa and Dini, thank you. Thank you for believing in us and trusting us even when we dont trust ourselves at times. Thank you for inspiring us to work harder and strive further for you are the kind of parents that spurs on to try harder, to trust ourselves a little more and to know that everything is going to be worth it. This post is dedicated to you both and your lovely kids! Thank you from the bottom of my heart ♥
Thank you too, Mdm Syaidah for your lovely testimony.. i cried watching this!
Lastly, i really hope all of you enjoy reading my first ever blogpost and do give some comments perhaps on what else would you like me to blog about as im hoping to add to this page regularly In Shaa Allah.. btw parents there are sooo many good things we are coming up with for you and our students, super excited about alllllll of our plans!! So, stay tuned! Meanwhile, watch the video below on Founder’s story because you will need the info from here to participate in our 6th years anniversary contest to win super great prizes!! Good luck!!
Lots of lurve,