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Relatives take a child out from the centre during the weekend.
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The children sit down to a weekday dinner of chicken wings, vegetables and rice. The meal was prepared by a volunteer. The children get to savour her nonya-style cooking every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
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Children sleeping in a bedroom at the centre. They will soon wake to the voice of their caretakers, wait for their turn in the shower, have breakfast and then be taken to school or catch the school bus.
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A child calls her mother, who is late in picking her up for an outing.
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A child is guided through a soaping routine by a caregiver after his retun from school.
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A two-year-old having his colostomy bag emptied by a caregiver. The child, the home’s youngest resident, suffers from enterocolitis, a condition that prevents him from releasing his stools normally and requires him to use a colostomy bag. The caregivers at the home empty the bag up to four times a day, and change it once every two days.
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Two of the children share shelter on their way back from school.

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THERE are no PlayStation Portables, Xboxes or expensive toys here. Well-thumbed books and worn toys line the shelves. Mattresses are stacked in the rooms.


Apart from the clothes on their backs, there is no such thing as private property for the children. Even a toy given to a particular child is eventually shared with the others. The storeroom is filled with donated food and clothes, which are handed out to the children when their current ones wear out.


Welcome to the Infant Jesus Centre, two conjoined three-room HDB flats which serve as home to eight children from troubled backgrounds. Their parents are either abusive, in jail, ill, homeless, or unable to care for them.


Pictures and story for The Straits Times.