SINGAPORE, 26 September 2017 – What do you do when you encounter setbacks? Do you hold your head up high and walk on despite the circumstances, or do you give up on your hopes and dreams? Faced with challenges, three young Singaporeans battled great odds to pursue their dreams, and were recognised at the Asia Pacific Breweries (APB) Foundation Scholarship for Persons with Disabilities Award Presentation Ceremony this morning.
The trio – Kristina Liu, Lee Ci En and Joshua Tseng – received their awards from Guest-of-Honour Mr Desmond Lee, Minister for Social and Family Development, at the ceremony held at the SPD Ability Centre.
The scholarship, fully sponsored by the APB Foundation, is managed by SPD, an organisation that supports people with disabilities. It recognises students with disabilities who have excelled in their studies and demonstrated strong leadership in their community. The Foundation has committed more than S$1.5 million towards the scholarship programme since its launch in 2004, benefiting 40 students so far. Each scholar receives $12,000 annually in this bond-free scholarship to cover course fees for the duration of their studies at any of six recognised local universities.
“We continue to be amazed by the exceptional applicants we see every year, and this year is no exception. We are happy to partner SPD to recognise and help outstanding youths with disabilities to pursue a university education. We are very proud that the APB Foundation scholarship has molded many of our scholars into disability advocates for their community,” said Mr Frans Eusman, Chairman, Board of Trustees, APB Foundation.
One of this year’s recipients, Joshua Tseng, 20, was told five years ago that he would have to consider a career as a masseuse after drastic deterioration of his vision. Joshua, who was diagnosed with glaucoma at 7, dismissed that and believed that he could reach for bigger dreams. He went on to prove his doctor and many others wrong when he obtained a diploma in marketing, and is now an undergraduate at Singapore Management University’s School of Information Systems.
Fellow award recipient, Kristina Liu, 30, also struggled with vision loss since young and furthermore survived a car accident when she was 17 to return to school seven years later. An undergraduate at the Nanyang Technological University, Kristina is a linguistic major, an area of interest for her as she aspires to be a speech and language therapist.
Similarly, 21-year-old Lee Ci En who, despite being born with achondroplasia, a form of short-limbed dwarfism, stands tall with his optimism and never fails to embrace life and seize opportunities. The political science student at the Singapore Management University dreams of leaving a lasting impact on society.
“The APB Foundation Scholarship has really enhanced the educational journeys of many youths with disabilities who constantly defy the odds to achieve outstanding results and conquer their challenges. The support of the APB Foundation also allowed us to extend our reach and help more people with disabilities,” said Ms Chia Yong Yong, President of SPD.
The APB Foundation is also supporting SPD’s Youth Development Programme (YDP) and Specialised Case Management Programme (SCMP). A mentorship programme, the YDP aims to empower and equip youths with disabilities with life and technical skills so that they can give back to the society by furthering inclusion in Singapore, while the SCMP aims to support persons with disabilities and their caregivers to help them lead fulfilling lives. YDP and SCMP receive $78,000 and $150,000 respectively from the Foundation for three years from 2016 to 2019.