Bursaries and Grants Presented at the SPD Education Programme Awards Presentation Ceremony 2015

More than 300 guests from corporate companies, the government sector, social services and non-profit organisations, academia and the community of people with disabilities convened at the Singapore Management University’s Mochtar [...]

Bursaries and Grants Presented at the SPD Education Programme Awards Presentation Ceremony 2015


SPD Youth Aspiration Award
He might have been an average student in school but 22-year-old Muhammad Diroy Bin Noordin, who has Dwarfism, always had an eye for designs. Diroy knew then that he wanted to be a graphic designer and studied hard to secure a place in Temasek Polytechnic where he now majors in Graphic Design.

Diroy was one of three recipients of the SPD Youth Aspiration Award from Mr Hawazi Daipi, Senior Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Education and Ministry of Manpower, at the SPD Education Programme Awards Presentation Ceremony 2015 held at SAFRA Jurong on 31 January. The award which comes with a $5,000 grant sponsored by NatSteel Holdings will allow Diroy to pursue his interest in graphic design.

“I have been working on software with versions that are not so updated. With this award, I can buy newer software and hardware. I can hone my skills more effectively and be more confident in myself,” said the self-motivated youth.

Besides Diroy, 15-year-old Paralympian aspirant Gregory Ong, and 20-year-old music enthusiast Sim Yu Xiang are the two other recipients of the SPD Youth Aspiration Award this year. Gregory has not allowed the effects of cerebral palsy to stop him from excelling in hand-cycling and he has his sights set on the next Paralympics. Yu Xiang is a National University of Singapore’s sociology undergraduate who, despite being diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy since young, is a passionate singer who does beautiful renditions of popular songs on his YouTube channel. His first video was a birthday song which he sang to his mother. This is the first time since the inception of the award programme in 2010 that three awards are given out instead of two.

Meet our SPD Youth Aspiration Award recipients

Muhammad Diroy Bin Noordin, 22
Condition: Dwarfism
Award Category: Visual arts – Graphic design

Living with Dwarfism since birth, Diroy is a self-motivated young man who aspires to be a graphic designer. As an art student back when he was in secondary school, Diroy was praised for his drawings and would often help his peers and teachers design logos and posters for school events. It was then that he was drawn into the world of design. Even though he was average in his studies, Diroy pushed the envelope to earn a place at Temasek Polytechnic. Now in his final term of school, Diroy looks forward to joining the design industry after graduation and to giving back to the society through his design skills.

His works can be found at

  • www.cargocollective.com/diroy
  • .

    Gregory Ong, 15
    Condition: Cerebral palsy
    Category: Sports – Hand-cycling

    Gregory is a soft-spoken 15-year-old boy who is very active in sports. He hopes to represent Singapore in hand-cycling at the next Paralympics in 2016 and is training very hard for it.

    Despite being shy and reserved, Gregory shows determination to break out of his quiet self to excel in the sport. Gregory also horse-rides and plays the piano, and is also looking at joining wheelchair racing in the near future.

    Gregory’s interest in hand-cycling started when he was 13 years old. His family was finding ways to keep him active as a wheelchair-user and hand-cycling was one of the sports that he tried and took to immediately. Gregory is committed to his training and has participated in many races to improve his competitiveness and skill.

    As the hand-cycle that he is training with is loaned to him, Gregory wants to use the award to acquire one that is customised to his needs and helps bring him closer to his dream of representing Singapore at the Paralympics 2016.

    Sim Yu Xiang, 20
    Condition: Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy
    Category: Performing Arts – Singing

    An undergraduate at the National University of Singapore, Yu Xiang has been passionate about music since young, in particular singing, as he believes that music is a communication medium which he can use to share his emotions and stories with others. However, due to childhood bullying, he dared not sing nor pursue his dream until 2007 when he befriended a professional musician on YouTube who encouraged and inspired Yu Xiang to start writing lyrics. Yu Xiang started to write in 2008 and a year later, took the next step and started singing online. His first song video “Happy Birthday” was dedicated to his mother. Aspiring to be a singer since then, Yu Xiang is no stranger to avid music lovers and listeners on social media where he actively shares his renditions of popular songs and receives encouragement from peers all over the world.

    Yu Xiang describes his love for music and singing with much conviction as they have given him confidence and purpose in life. He is looking forward to using the award for professional lessons to improve his singing techniques.

    Listen to his songs at www.youtube.com/user/YuXiangKelvin.

    NatSteel-SPD Education Programme Bursary
    The SPD Education Programme Awards Presentation Ceremony also saw 73 students with physical disabilities and students with physically disabled parents who are from low-income families receive $35,700 in bursaries. The NatSteel-SPD Education Programme Bursary has helped many students and their families to alleviate some of the financial burdens that they faced.

    On the bursary award, Mr Vivek Kamra, President and Chief Executive Officer of NatSteel Holdings Pte Ltd, said: “We are happy to support families with the NatSteel-SPD Education Programme Bursary Award. Education is the way forward to building the foundations for our youth, and we are glad to be able to contribute. The award is an important pillar in SPD’s Education Programme. By alleviating the financial burdens of the families and their children, the programme enables students to focus on achieving academic excellence as they pursue their education in mainstream schools.”

    More than 3,500 bursaries amounting to about $3 million have been awarded to students with physical disabilities and students with parents who have physical disabilities since the bursary programme was incepted 30 years ago.