Launch of SPD “Breaking Barriers” Campaign and Photo Exhibition – Speech by Ms Chia Yong Yong

Mr Tan Chuan-Jin, Minister for Social and Family Development

Dr Steffen Norbert Koch, Counsellor and Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Singapore

Ms Mary Thurston, Deputy High Commissioner, New Zealand High Commission in Singapore

Mr Ben Tan, Designate CEO, Courts Singapore

Distinguished guests,

Ladies and gentlemen,


1. Good morning. Thank you for joining us today at the launch of SPD “Breaking Barriers” campaign and photo exhibition.

SPD “Breaking Barriers” Campaign

2. Over the past decade, the Government has taken an active role in enhancing the lives of persons with disabilities.

3. Through the ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the development of the Enabling Masterplans, the Government continues to work with voluntary welfare organisations to support persons with disabilities, their families and caregivers.

4. We are glad that the National Council of Social Service launched the five-year “See the True Me” public education campaign in June last year to increase awareness of persons with disabilities, including those with invisible disabilities.

5. SPD, as a voluntary welfare organisation, needs the support of the community to serve people with disabilities more effectively.

6. We hope to establish a greater connection with the community and to advance SPD’s vision of building an inclusive community where everyone is a part of it, and not apart from it.

7. In line with the Enabling Masterplan’s thrusts of building the community and an inclusive society, SPD is also launching a public education initiative, the “Breaking Barriers” campaign.

8. This awareness initiative, which is taking place over the next 10 weeks, aims to increase disability awareness, empathy and support for persons with disabilities.

9. Participants can look forward to a series of activities including a roving exhibition of the winning photos of the SPD Photo Contest, and an open house on 4 March 2017 at SPD Ability Centre in Tiong Bahru. The SPD Charity Show <<真情无障爱>> will also be staged on MediaCorp’s Channel 8 on 19 March 2017 as part of the campaign.

10. Through these, we hope more people will open their eyes to the abilities of people with disabilities and accept and accommodate them, and that more can be done to enable people of all abilities to function at their best and be contributing members of our community.

SPD Photo Contest and Exhibition

11. As a lead-up to the “Breaking Barriers” campaign, SPD organised a three-month photo contest with the theme “Let’s Focus on Inclusion!” last year, to encourage photographers to show us and others how inclusion was being reflected in their everyday lives.

12. During the contest period, we received close to 500 entries in the Open and Facebook categories, featuring people with disabilities at play, at work, at school, as well of the people, the environment and technology that supported them.

13. Today, we are delighted to be presenting awards to the winning photographers. The 21 winning photos will be on display in a roving exhibition, starting from the Central Public Library here, to Courts Megastore in Tampines, Woodlands Regional Library, The Frontier Community Club in Jurong West and Ci Yuan Community Club in Hougang, over the next few weeks of the campaign period. So, do look out for them and invite your family and friends to drop by.

14. I want to take this opportunity to congratulate the winners of the SPD Photo Contest. Minister Tan is known to be an avid photographer himself, and we are greatly honoured to have Minister Tan present the prizes to them, and to launch our “Breaking Barriers” campaign.

15. I would also like to express our heartfelt thanks to our three sponsors, Courts Singapore, Pantrade Electrical and Invespar Pte Ltd for supporting our cause and generously sponsoring the prizes for this contest.
16. We also thank our partners, The Photographic Society of Singapore for offering their expertise in this project, People’s Association for the exhibition venues in Community Clubs and National Library Board for the exhibition space at public libraries and for the event venue today.

17. These 10 weeks of campaign will pass soon enough, but we hope the openness for inclusion will not stop.

18. We hope to see more people stepping up and creating ripples of actions in including and accommodating people of different abilities, and building an environment that would make the most of each individual’s unique abilities.

19. Thank you.