Scholarship Dedicated To Help People With Physical Disabilities Launched

Singapore, 20 April 2004 – When he was 16, wheelchair user Jan Lee formed the conviction that to get a job and have a better future, he had to stand out from his non-disabled counterparts by working hard and excelling academically. Jan has Transverse Myelitis, a neurological disorder caused by inflammation of the spinal cord. At 23, he may well achieve his ambitions with the help of the SPD-Asia Pacific Breweries Foundation Scholarship.

A collaboration between The Society for the Physically Disabled (SPD) and Asia Pacific Breweries Foundation (APB Foundation), the scholarship awards students with physical disabilities for their outstanding academic achievements. This is to encourage them to aspire to higher levels of educational attainment.

Two scholars will be selected each year who would receive a quantum of $11,000 per year that would cover tuition fees at most University faculties and leave an allowance for other expenses. APB Foundation sponsored $220,000 towards this Scholarship. Scholars will be selected based on their performance at national level as well as University examinations and applicants must be a person with physical disabilities and admitted to one of the three main local universities.

For Jan who has just completed his Diploma in Accountancy and is waiting for admission to the Nanyang Technological University, obtaining the Scholarship award will help to lighten the financial load of his father who is the family’s sole bread winner. “I am very thrilled to learn of the scholarship. Financial support is helpful but more importantly, the establishment of such a scholarship is an acknowledgement and recognition of the disabled community being able to produce outstanding and fine students too. We too can contribute back to the society in the coming days. I will definitely apply for the SPD-Asia Pacific Breweries Foundation Scholarship and hope I would be selected for the award,” says Jan.

The SPD-Asia Pacific Breweries Foundation Scholarship was launched today by Acting Minister for Education Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam at the SPD Education Programme Awards Presentation Ceremony held on 20 March 2004 at SPD. The event also saw $187,350 disbursed to 210 physically disabled students and students with physically disabled parent(s) from primary to tertiary levels. This is done as part of the SPD Education Programme which provides financial awards and social services with the aim of leveling the playing field for these students from low-income families as they work towards carving a brighter future for themselves.

“Asia Pacific Breweries Foundation, as an altruistic organization, strongly believes in supporting the needs and achievements of deserving organizations and individuals. As the sponsor of the SPD-Asia Pacific Breweries Foundation Scholarship, the Foundation encourages the academic elite amongst the physically challenged students in Singapore to continue to pursue excellence in their studies and achieve their dreams,” says Mr Koh Poh Tiong, Chairman, Executive Committee, APB Foundation.

“SPD is aware that students with physical disabilities face greater challenges than the normal students. Hence, SPD has in the last few years introduced new services within the Programme to help the students to meet the challenges. Other than the newly launched scholarship, existing services such as social and emotional support will complement financial support to help the students to be socially and academically adept and confident,” says Mr Koh Nai Teck, President of SPD.