Singapore, 3 June 2002 – 13 children with physical disabilities will be busy painting egg shells, catching up with low-impact aerobics and preparing for a drama sketch to be acted out in two days’ time.
Philip Loh, 11, one of the participants, is most thrilled to take part in this 3-day holiday camp that is specially designed for physically disabled children. Philip suffers from Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita, a joint disease. He limps a little and has limited function in his left arm and fingers. Philip says, ‘I have been wanting to participate in camps organised by my school. But the activities are not suitable for me. I am glad that I can come to this 3-day camp at SPD for physically disabled children.’
This holiday camp aims to offer children with physical disability a positive and beneficial recreation opportunity to interact, have fun, learn new skills and get a physical workout in a safe and supportive environment. Activities include origami, drama, low-impact aerobics, charade and a trip to the Zoo.
This camp will pave the way for many more enrichment programmes to be held during the school holidays. Mr Koh Nai Teck, President of SPD, says “This is the first time that SPD is organising a camp for children with physical disabilities. SPD has been providing physically disabled students and students with disabled parents from low-income families with financial aids (under the SPD Education Grant Programme*), volunteer tutors, refurbished computers, computer courses, befriending services, mobility aids, eg motorised wheelchair. We want to give all of them a fair chance to receive education and find good employment to achieve financial independence when they grow up. But to succeed in life, one needs more than just academics qualifications. Other ‘intangible’ qualities like, confidence, positive attitude, interpersonal skills, personal grooming, etc, are just as essential.”
The camp is a joint effort between SPD and a volunteer, Ms Elizabeth Mary Thorarajoo. Ms Thorarajoo, who has 10 years of teaching experience in local schools, does a lot of community work with disabled children in her spare time. She says, ‘I strongly believe that every child has great potential and latent talents to be realised and nurtured. Some children with physical disabilities may have an inferior complex that limits their potential. Through play and creative activities, they can unleash themselves from their limitations that they subconsciously set for themselves, and discover their strengths.’
* – SPD Education Grant Programme is a bursary programme for disabled students or students with disabled parents to pursue academic dreams and goals without monetary worries. It has been running for 5 years now.
SPD has given out a total of $200,250 to 226 recipients at the beginning of the year.