As a victim of domestic abuse with a childhood in multiple foster care homes, Elmira had no choice but to grow up quickly. Especially after spending some time roughing it out on the streets and a brief stay at Singapore Girls’ Home.

As told by SUTD students Syarifuddin, Sree Devi and Shivani, Elmira’s journey is one of a fiercely independent woman who found her own path to a better life despite being part of a vulnerable yet largely invisible community of youth in Singapore.

This story is part of RICE Media’s Storytellers initiative, a mentorship programme for budding content creators to learn about the art of creative non-fiction. In collaboration with Quantedge Foundation, scholarship recipients take on the lived experiences of disadvantaged youth in the hope that we, as a society, reflect on how we can enable every child or youth to access equal opportunities and thrive.

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With our new Series approach, we go deep on specific themes and issues. From burnout and challenging conventional definitions of success, to Singaporeans speaking their minds, we bring you a diversity of stories and perspectives that you won’t find anywhere else.