Two of our youths are among this year’s 12 recipients of the UBS Promise Award at the Goh Chok Tong Enable Awards. Wong Liang Le, a former Transition to Employment client, and Samuel Lim, an SPD Youth Aspiration Award and Asia Pacific Breweries Foundation scholarship recipient, received their award from President Halimah Yacob and Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong on 3 December. The Promise award category seeks to recognise individuals who have shown a high level of potential in a talent or skill, with each awardee receiving a $5,000 cash prize.
Wong Liang Le
Liang Le was 17 years old when she was diagnosed with Spinal Arteriovenous Malformation, which left her completely paralysed and a permanent wheelchair user. Due to the complications resulting from the condition, Liang Le spent most of her days in and out of hospitals. As the recovery journey took up a few years, Liang Le had to leave school after maxing out on the number of deferments allowed.
Despite the ordeals she had been through, Liang Le was determined to lead an independent life. She enrolled in SPD’s Transition to Employment programme and attended several business courses to prepare herself in setting up an online business. Now, Liang Le is a successful business owner with her own team of employees. Her online store went from a humble beginning of selling watch straps to a registered company today, offering a wider product range such as wallets and sports equipment. Outside of work, Liang Le gives back to society by mentoring young individuals with disabilities in a peer support group at SPD.
Winning this award was an incredibly humbling experience for Liang Le, who said: “I am honoured to receive this award as it not only acknowledges the achievements of persons with disabilities, it also celebrates the contributions by Singaporeans with disabilities. This award inspires me to pay it forward and look for ways to encourage others to achieve their dreams.”
Samuel was only three months old when an unfortunate incident permanently damaged his upper airway and upper gastrointestinal tract. Since then, he has been breathing and eating through two tubes – one in his windpipe and another in his stomach. The struggles that Samuel faced in verbal communication prompted him to take up Linguistics and Multilingual Studies at the Nanyang Technological University.
While speech is challenging, Samuel had no problem expressing himself through his music. His talent in piano and guzheng shines brightly, and he enjoys delivering beautiful music to people around him. He is no stranger to performing at charity events, including the SPD Charity Show 2017. Besides music, Samuel is also passionate about helping other youths with disabilities. He is an active committee member in Camp Rainbow, an annual medically supervised camp for children with chronic illnesses.
“I would never expect to be one of the few recipients for this award. As someone who thinks of himself as mediocre at best, this award has provided me confidence and further motivates me to work harder. I would like to thank Club Rainbow (Singapore), SPD, and Beautiful Mind Charity Singapore for providing me with the endless support and encouragement in my musical and academic journeys. Lastly, I would like to thank my family and friends for staying by my side throughout my life, showering me with affection and laughter,” shared Samuel, who is also an APB Foundation Scholar. He plans to use the prize money to further his studies.
Heartiest congratulations to Liang Le and Samuel!