In June 2016, Ms Doris Chua embarked on her quest to do good by sponsoring an Ethiopian girl named Konjit, who was 10 at the time, through non-profit organisation World Vision International Singapore.
And her unwavering commitment to supporting the education of underprivileged children in Africa continues even in death.
Ms Chua died at the age of 63 on March 20 - but not before stating in her will that her home be sold and the sale proceeds be donated fully to World Vision.
Her two-bedroom Seastrand condominium unit at Pasir Ris is estimated to be worth more than $1 million.
After being diagnosed with ovarian cancer three years ago, the Singaporean private tutor underwent chemotherapy.
It was around that period that Ms Chua, who got divorced 30 years ago and is childless, had planned her generous financial gift.
But the cancer recurred last August, spreading to her brain.
On preparing to execute her will, Ms Chua’s elder sister, Ms Nancy Chua, 65, told The New Paper: “It is her decision, and we as her family respect her choice.”
She said the family was not surprised by her final wishes, as Ms Chua had always been “kind-hearted” and “would always try to help if she sees poor people or those in need” when she was alive.
“My sister lived an optimistic life. She even comforted me and told me she has accepted her fate,” said Ms Nancy, who admitted she is yet to overcome “the sadness from her death”.
The details of the donation are still being discussed between the family and World Vision.
Ms Chua also entrusted sufficient funds with the charity to continue her sponsorship of Konjit until she turns 18.
Ms Nancy said although her sister did not have children of her own, she had always cared about the next generation’s welfare and rights to education.
Before becoming a private tutor, she operated a childcare centre.
She also treated her nieces and nephews, as well as Konjit, “like her own children”.
Ms Chua and Konjit had been communicating through letters, and the girl, now 15, had penned words of encouragement to Ms Chua after learning about her cancer diagnosis.
In December 2017, Ms Chua joined World Vision’s child sponsors trip to Ethiopia and met Konjit for the first and only time.
She told Chinese newspaper Lianhe Wanbao in an interview in 2018 that it made her “feel more content and want to pass on the spirit of helping others”.
She added that US president Abraham Lincoln who issued the Emancipation Proclamation and freed slaves in America, was her role model since she was 10.
And that although she couldn’t help all the people who are suffering from inequality, she would assist as much as she can.
She said: “I believe charity should have no borders, and we should help people who need it more.”
World Vision believes the trip to Africa deepened Ms Chua’s understanding of difficulties in the education of underprivileged children in Africa, which strengthened her belief in supporting the charity’s work.
Its spokesman told TNP: “She visited World Vision’s projects and communities and saw the positive impact of changed lives. She also witnessed the challenges faced by African children, especially in education.
“Literacy rates are low, and unconducive learning environments compounded by vast distances to school stand in the way of these children accessing the help they need to step out of poverty.
“We are extremely grateful and humbled by Doris Chua’s care for the poor and her desire to help vulnerable children. Her legacy will impact many children.”