SINGAPORE, 27 August 2017 – A crowd of more than 1,500 was present at the SPD Ability Walk 2017 this morning to show their support for the inclusion of people with disabilities. Mr Desmond Lee, Second Minister for Home Affairs and National Development, flagged off the 3km leisure walk at the Chinese Garden at 8am.
Among the participants were three trainees from SPD’s Sheltered Workshop who simply wanted to enjoy the Garden’s scenery together. Ayapillay s/o Ayapillay Kumarappan, Hamidah Bte Wahab and Ng May Chan are close friends, having been at the Sheltered Workshop, which provides employment and vocational training for people with disabilities, for over a decade. All three have disabilities and face different challenges in their everyday life.
Another client, Mr Nordin Bin Mohd Syed, responded readily to an appeal for volunteers and turned up to entertain participants with his vocals and guitar along the route. The 67-year-old busker started using a wheelchair after a work-related accident more than 40 years ago, which resulted in a spinal cord injury. Undaunted in his pursuit of his passion and possessing a good voice and excellent guitar skills, Mr Nordin has been busking for more than a decade.
One of the main highlights of the walk was an activity that saw participants walking a distance of about 200m with a leg tied to a partner, and walking assisted while blindfolded through a 200m course. These challenges aimed to help participants to learn a bit more about the difficulties that people with disabilities face daily.
“SPD’s vision is to build an inclusive community where everyone is a part. The SPD Ability Walk is a chance for everyone to come together, have fun, and at the same time discover and be attuned to the needs of people with disabilities. This is also an important fundraiser for us to generate funds that would help keep our services affordable and accessible to more people with disabilities in the community,” said Ms Chia Yong Yong President, SPD.
Three of the volunteers mobilised were recipients of scholarship programmes administered by SPD. Mohamed Najulah, Ang Chin Hao and Tan Jun Long, who helped to distribute drinks and snacks at one of the carnival booths, have always possessed a desire to give back, having been beneficiaries themselves.
“I am grateful for the help and support given to my family and me over the years, and that would not have been possible if not for the generosity of the community. Therefore, I am very happy to be here today at the SPD Ability Walk, to play my part and contribute back in this small way,” said 21-year-old Najulah.
This is the second year SPD organised the walk. The first event conducted last year was held at Punggol Waterway Park.