People with Physical Disabilities Partner Young Rotarians for a Good Cause

Singapore, 22 November 2002 – Since August, Lee Seng Ngiap, a beneficiary of The Society for the Physically Disabled (SPD) and his friends have been working non-stop to make refrigerator magnets, scented star candles, tea light candles and copper wire card holders in preparation for a special “Christmas Cheer 2002” charity drive.

This charity drive is organised by the Rotary Club of Singapore West (RCSW) together with SanMerry Food Industries Pte Ltd and Christanio De Florist to help raise $25,000 for The Society for the Physically Disabled (SPD). Starting from 1 December, booths will be set up at major shopping centres and selected petrol stations where handicrafts made by Seng Ngiap and his friends will be sold along with Christmas goodies like fruit cakes, ginger breads and hampers.

About 100 junior RCSW Rotarians otherwise known as “Interactors and Rotaractors” from various schools and organisations will help man the booths together with SPD’s physically disabled members. A total of 11 booths will be set up at CentrePoint Shopping Mall, Great World City, Parco Bugis Junction and Suntec City as well as selected Singapore Petroleum Company (SPC) petrol stations. The booths will be opened up to 25 December and operates from 12 noon to 7 pm daily.

In preparation for the month-long sale, the student Interactors and Rotaractors spent half an afternoon at SPD interacting with the beneficiaries and learning more of the services and programmes provided by the Society. They will also attend a workshop on sale management, handling customers and how to work alongside with SPD beneficiaries on 23 November. SPD beneficiaries played their part by making and producing the handicraft items. They started making the items from August. They will also be helping in the packing and decorating some of the confectionery products at SanMerry’s factory.

Mr Bernd J. Gotze, current President of the Rotary Club of Singapore West, says, “We know that the current economic climate is not very conducive but we believe that Singaporeans will rise to the occasion. We also hope that apart from raising funds, the values of caring and sharing will also rub off on our young Interactors and Rotaractors. That is why we took the effort to introduce SPD beneficiaries and organise a workshop for these people. We believe the students will find this holiday assignment beneficial to them as well.”

Mr Tay Wei Lien, President Elect says, “RSCW supports various charities and causes through its community service outreach programme. This year, we are very happy to renew our ties with SPD again after having helped establish the Society in 1964. We are especially proud that SPD has progressed from just a small production workshop to a five-storey building today catering to people with disabilities in their education, employment, rehabilitation, vocational training and general well-being.”

Part proceeds from the sale of the foodstuff made from SanMerry’s bakeries and Christanio De Florists and full proceeds from the handicrafts will go towards establishing an Information Technology Training Fund for people with disabilities. The IT Training Fund will allow SPD to conduct various computer skills training for people with disabilities and equip them better for employment especially in the IT industry.

Christmas Cheer 2002 is made possible with support from Centrepoint Shopping Centre, Great World City, Suntec City, Parco Bugis Junction and Singapore Petroleum Company. These organisations have generously donated premium space during year-end festive peak period season to allow the set up of sale booths for the project. The Singapore Petroleum Company has also kindly allowed SPD to install donation boxes at its 8 petrol stations from 1 to 25 December. Car owners can also make outright donations besides buying handicraft confectionery items.