Japanese Welfare Foundation Makes Work at the SPD Sheltered Workshop Safer and More Efficient for People with Disabilities

SINGAPORE, 15 February 2016 – People with disabilities are a potential pool of talent to tap on for employment. In many cases, simple modifications and improvements to a working environment can help to develop this potential. With that in mind, Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Welfare Foundation generously donated $10,000 for the purchase of wheelchairs, plastic pallets, cage trolleys and storage cartons for SPD’s Sheltered Workshop to help its trainees go about their work better.

The SPD Sheltered Workshop is a programme that provides supported employment and training opportunities to persons with disabilities. There are currently more than 100 trainees under this programme. The vocational training that they receive at SPD – largely through the small work contracts that are brought in – helps prepare them for open employment.

One trainee who is benefitting from the Foundation’s donation is 53-year-old Sheltered Workshop trainee Mr Lim Tow Chong. Diagnosed with spinocerebellar ataxia, a condition which causes progressive weakness and imbalance, Mr Lim relies on a motorised scooter to get around. With his scooter too high for the workbench, Mr Lim would transfer to a manual wheelchair at the workshop so as to be able to work at a more comfortable height. The Foundation’s donation has enabled the Sheltered Workshop to buy 12 new manual wheelchairs among other items to replace well-worn ones.

Fellow trainee and line leader Mr Lee Boon Kian is happy with the 100 new plastic pallets which add to the existing 60 currently available at the Sheltered Workshop. A wheelchair-user, the 46-year-old is in charge of various packing jobs and the items to be packed are now placed on the new plastic pallets so that they can be brought closer to him and within easy reach. Mr Lee is happy that the plastic pallets are brought in to help make his work easier, “With the pallets, I can distribute the items to my fellow trainees down the line more effectively and this helps to improve the workshop’s productivity.”

The remaining amount will be used to acquire new cage trolleys and storage cartons, and where possible, more manual wheelchairs.

This marks the Foundation’s first contribution to SPD, and their third to the community in Singapore. Managing Director of Tenet Sompo Insurance (a subsidiary of Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Insurance Inc.), Mr Takanori Ono, said “The Foundation believes in promoting an inclusive society where everyone can make meaningful contributions in their own different ways. SPD has been chosen to receive the grant for its effort in advocating inclusion and acceptance of persons with disabilities and providing structured training to help persons with disabilities to gain employment and be financially independent.”

“People with disabilities can do work efficiently and effectively if provided with the proper support and equipment,” said Mr Jeffrey Chin, Deputy Director of SPD’s Adult and Elderly Services Division. “We are therefore thankful for the generous and thoughtful donation by Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Welfare Foundation.”