Her experiences during her teenage years honed her determination to lessen suffering. When she was 17, Noor’s mother and stepfather separated. Noor and her three sisters became homeless. They moved from house to house 11 times in five years. Grappling with financial stability, Noor attempted suicide twice. What held her back was her faith. Noor — who stopped schooling after she took her O-Levels at 17 and became a part-time speech and drama teacher — says: “When I went to sleep at night, I would pray: God, if I ever get out of this, help me to do something about it. I never want anyone else to go through this.”
The family situation stabilised when her uncle and his wife helped them to pay for an HDB flat five years later. With a roof over her head and a job as a property agent at age 23, Noor swung into action. She decided to provide free groceries as these are fundamental for daily living. Without any experience or training, she set up Back2Basics by simply starting a Facebook group calling for volunteers. Many responded but just three stayed — Noor, her best friend and another mutual friend. The trio paid for and delivered groceries to three families. “It was so not legit. But even if we were only delivering to one family at that time, we had to keep at it,” says Noor.