Dr Janil Puthucheary,
Minister of State for Education, Communications and Information, and Member of Parliament for Pasir Ris–Punggol GRC
Our partners, sponsors and volunteers
Participants of the SPD Ability Fun Walk
Ladies & Gentlemen
1. Good morning and a very warm welcome to SPD’s very first charity fun walk. I hope you have all enjoyed your morning so far.
More Opportunities for Interactions
2. I am really happy to see the encouraging turn out this morning – Punggol residents, participants who have travelled from other parts of Singapore, neighbours, family and friends, donors and volunteers – all coming together to show your support for this meaningful event.
3. In a survey findings published by Lien Foundation a few months back, it was noted that Singapore may not be as inclusive as we think it is. The population of persons with special need is a minority in. There is still a general lack of understanding and acceptance of the special needs community. The public may not know how to react or interact with an individual with special needs. There is often some awkwardness when such interaction takes place.
4. This is why public education plays a very important role if individuals with special needs are to be successfully integrated into the community. More opportunities for interactions are needed, so that we can cultivate understanding and greater acceptance of those with different abilities in our society.
SPD’s Role in the Community
5. At SPD, inclusion is a subject close to our hearts. We are helping more than 5,000 people with disabilities, whom we refer to as clients, to be independent and self-reliant. And we do so through a range of services that spans therapy services, early intervention, educational and employment support, vocational training and so on. At the end of the day, we want them to be able to fully integrate into the society and participate in all aspects of community living. But to do so, we need Singaporeans to accept and view persons with special needs as no different from any citizen of this country.
6. While we had organised the SPD Ability Fun Walk to raise funds so that our beneficiaries can continue to receive the help and support they need, I am glad that it has also given us this opportunity to advocate and give disability issues greater visibility.
7. Many of our clients work hard at overcoming their limitations and trying to get back on their feet. One of them is 55-year-old Lim Lian Hua who is a trainee at the SPD Sheltered Workshop. He sustained spinal cord injuries from a road accident in 2011, and was in a vegetative state for six months. Lian Hua spent nine months learning to walk again. Until today, he still cannot walk long distances and relies on his wheelchair if he is going far. Nevertheless, Lian Hua jumped at the opportunity to sign up for this walk and he is here with us this morning. I heard that he has been working with his therapists at our rehab centre to build strength and endurance so that he could join in the walk. We are all very proud of him! And to all our clients who have joined us here today, well done!
8. These are stories of success that pop up every so often. We hear them from our therapists, teachers, trainers and sometimes from the clients and caregivers themselves and they spur us to push on with our mission.
9. On this note, I would like to thank our Guest-of-Honour, Dr Janil Puthucheary, Member of Parliament for Pasir Ris–Punggol GRC, for gracing this event and doing us the honour of flagging off the walk earlier, and taking the walk with us. To our sponsors, donors and supporters, our heartfelt thanks for believing in us and our mission and for standing by us all seasons. Together, I know we can achieve a community where people with disabilities are a part of, rather than apart from, the society.
10. Thank you once again for coming out this morning in support of our cause. I hope you will continue to stay on for the carnival and participate in the activities that we have planned for the rest of the morning.