SPD Education Programme Awards Bring Youngsters Closer To Their Dreams | SPD - Singapore

SPD Education Programme Awards Bring Youngsters Closer To Their Dreams


Photo of SPD Youth Aspiration Award recipients Victor Wong and Samuel Lim

From left: Mr Vivek Kamra, CEO & President of NatSteel Holdings, SPD Youth Aspiration Award recipients Victor Wong and Samuel Lim, Mr Chan Heng Kee, Permanent Secretary for MSF, Ms Chia Yong Yong, President of SPD


Samuel Lim may not be able to speak normally like others, but he expresses himself using a universal language - music. The 14-year-old, who plays the piano and gu zheng, was one of the two recipients of the SPD Youth Aspiration Award 2014.

Receiving the award at the SPD Education Programme Awards Presentation Ceremony held at Traders Hotel on 11 January, Samuel also put up an enthralling rendition of Joe Hisaishi’s Summer on the piano, an instrument he learned to play since he was seven.

Samuel has never tasted food and he breathes and feeds through tubes that are inserted into his body. He was born without disabilities but at three months old, a domestic helper poured acid down his throat which permanently damaged his tongue, throat and vocal chords. Miraculously, baby Samuel survived. For the family, it was the start of a journey fraught with challenges at every turn.

Nevertheless, 14 years on a positive story has ensued. Samuel has touched and inspired many through his performances. He enjoys bringing beautiful music to people around him, and is especially passionate about playing for those who are disadvantaged.

“Music has given me another identity and a channel to express myself more confidently and freely. I am very happy to receive this award,” expressed Samuel in writing.

Samuel would be using the $5,000 grant from the award to pursue Grade 6, the next level of his piano assessment.

Victor Wong was the other SPD Youth Aspiration Award recipient this year. The 21-year-old was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at birth but he did more than just overcoming his own disabilities.

Bringing smiles to others cheers him up and it was for this simple reason that he ventured into cosplay about six years ago. Always looking for ways to improve his craft as a cosplay actor, the award would help the Infocomm & Network Engineering student from Temasek Polytechnic hone his craft as he prepares for more competitions ahead.

“I am thankful for the SPD Youth Aspiration Award. It will certainly take me one step closer to my dream of becoming a full time cosplayer in future,” said Victor who is planning to perform for children at more charity events.

The awards presentation ceremony was graced by Mr Chan Heng Kee, Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Social and Family Development. He also presented bursaries amounting to $76,050 to 97 students with physical disabilities or whose either parents have physical disabilities. The bursaries, sponsored by NatSteel Holdings, help defray education fees of the students and alleviate the financial stress on their families.

“An education will lay a good foundation to many possibilities, so no child should be denied one. We are grateful to have found a valuable partner in NatSteel who shares this belief and continues to invest in the future of students who are under disadvantaged circumstances,” said Ms Chia Yong Yong, President of SPD.

Group photo of the primary school awardee

Photo of some primary school awardee

Since 1985, over $2.9 million has been awarded to more than 3,500 students with physical disabilities and students with parents who have physical disabilities. The support is extended to students from primary to tertiary levels including those at ITE, pre-universities, junior colleges, polytechnics and universities.

The SPD Education Programme was started in 1985 to help students from low-income families cope with expenses related to the students’ studies in mainstream schools. It has since evolved to meet other needs of the students with disabilities by offering a more holistic support, which includes counselling, tuition support, enrichment courses and even collaboration with schools, to ensure all-round care for individual students with physical disabilities. For more information on the SPD Education Programme, please visit http://www.spd.org.sg/programmes/education_programme.html.