PASSION FOR COMMUNITY CAUSES DRIVE RECIPIENTS OF ASIA PACIFIC BREWERIES FOUNDATION SCHOLARSHIP TO DO GOOD AMID LIFE’S CHALLENGES
SINGAPORE, 7 October 2021 – It is never easy to remain hopeful and push oneself forward in the face of adversities, but three youth with disabilities took it one step further. Delving into and drawing from their own experiences, they each went on to spark change for the causes close to their hearts, while continuing to excel academically.
Local undergraduates Rajpal Nirat Singh, Kimberly Quek and Zhu Jiahui are this year’s recipients of the Asia Pacific Breweries (APB) Foundation Scholarship for Persons with Disabilities, in recognition of their academic achievements and contributions to the community. Together with last year’s scholars, Chew Chee Siang, Elliot Teng Z-Kai and Ng Jun Kang, they received their awards from Guest-of-Honour Ms Sun Xueling, Minister of State for Education and Social and Family Development, and Mr Kenneth Choo, Member, Board of Trustees, Asia Pacific Breweries Foundation and Managing Director Asia Pacific, HEINEKEN Asia Pacific Pte Ltd, this afternoon.
“At APB Foundation, we are invested in supporting communities to thrive and that includes investing in young talents. I am deeply proud of all that we have accomplished in the past 17 years with SPD in empowering outstanding individuals who have since gone on to make a positive impact and contribution back to our community. Every success that we have seen is testament that with the right support, these talents can uncage their fullest potential and shine brightly,” said Mr Choo.
The Scholarship, sponsored by APB Foundation and managed by local disability-focused charity SPD, has committed over $2 million to empower 52 young adults with disabilities in their educational pursuits since 2004. The Scholarship recognises students with disabilities who have excelled in their studies and demonstrated strong leadership in their community.
The impact of the Scholarship has been far-reaching as many scholars who have graduated went on to achieve great heights in their respective fields such as banking, technology, sports and civil service. Notable recipients include Paralympians Ms Yip Pin Xiu and Mr Toh Wei Soong, who flew the Singapore flag high in the recent Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
Scholarship recipient Rajpal Nirat Singh was diagnosed with moderate hearing loss at the age of five. While living in Vietnam, the circumstances of fellow students with hearing loss struck a chord with him, inspiring him to set up an organisation called Hearing Vietnam to transform their education. His resourcefulness saw him successfully garnering devices like bone-conduction headphones and audiobooks, which not only helped these students learn English, it also enabled some of them to hear music for the first time.
“My family’s financial situation was hit badly from the pandemic and with the APB Foundation scholarship, I hope to alleviate the financial burden. It also provides an added boost for me to pursue my aspiration of being a social entrepreneur,” said the 21-year-old economics undergraduate.
Another scholarship recipient, Kimberly Quek, 21, has bilateral profound hearing loss. Kimberly started bowling competitively in 2011 when she was in primary school. She later enrolled in the Singapore Sports School where she was given opportunities to represent Singapore in international training and competitions as a student-athlete. She was only 17 years old when she clinched Singapore’s first ever Bronze medal in the 2017 Deaflympics. Aside from sports and studies, Kimberly is also passionate about empowering persons with disabilities through various volunteer work, including organising an inclusive sports event with a local university’s welfare services club. Currently a first-year undergraduate at Yale-NUS College, Kimberly intends to major in life sciences and hopes to become a researcher to improve the lives of persons with disabilities through science.
23-year-old Zhu Jiahui is another scholarship recipient this year. Diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy Type II which causes her muscles to disintegrate over time and limits limb movement, Jiahui uses a motorised wheelchair to get around. She also relies on her mother’s help for activities of daily living such as toileting, dressing, bathing, and getting up from the wheelchair. Unfazed by her condition, Jiahui chose to focus her energy on advocating for the muscular dystrophy community through fundraising events. The final year accountancy student at Nanyang Technological University hopes to be able to provide free financial and advisory services to the underprivileged to help them better manage their personal assets.
Grateful for APB Foundation’s unwavering support, Mr Abhimanyau Pal, Chief Executive Officer of SPD, said: “We are extremely privileged to have APB Foundation as our long-time partner, who like us, believes in investing in the future of our youth. Their generous contributions have enabled many youths to thrive in their careers and go on to excel in many aspects of their lives.”
“The continued goodwill and support from our corporate partners like the APB Foundation are critical for charities like us, especially during this challenging period. We laud APB Foundation for setting an exceptional example of a socially responsible company which has touched the lives of many persons with disabilities, and we hope to see more corporates emulating this spirit of giving and stepping forward to support the social service sector as we advance our causes,” added Mr Pal.