The rain in the morning of 4 March did little to dampen the spirits of close to 900 visitors and volunteers who gathered for the SPD Open House at the SPD Ability Centre on Peng Nguan Street. The event was organised with the aims of fostering greater understanding and acceptance of persons with disabilities in the community.
Guest-of-Honour Ms Joan Pereira, Member of Parliament for Tanjong Pagar GRC, graced the open house which was also attended by corporate and individual supporters, partners, clients, caregivers and those in the Tiong Bahru neighbourhood. Ms Pereira took time to tour the centre and interacted with visitors and staff.
Peng Nguan Street was closed for the Open House under URA’s “Streets for People” programme. Visitors went into the street to play Giant Games organised by social enterprise Society Staples. Larger-than-life games such as Jenga, pick-up sticks and badminton enabled persons with disabilities and people without disabilities to play together.
These activities emphasised the importance of including persons with disabilities in daily recreations, while encouraging interaction among participants.
The flea market put together by SPD in partnership with Makers’ Market was a huge draw with the crowd.
The market included a showcase and demonstration of bookbinding skills and hot stamping abilities by craftsmen with disabilities from SPD’s sheltered workshop programme. Proceeds from the sale of some artisanal pieces at the flea market went towards raising funds in support of persons with disabilities.
Visitors also took time to show their support at a photo booth, pledging to take action to enhance inclusion of persons with disabilities in the community. They were encouraged to post their photos on social media with the campaign hashtag #SPDBreakingBarriers.
Photos from the “Let’s Focus on Inclusion” roving exhibition were displayed at the open house.
Throughout the day, visitors also joined in the Tiong Bahru Inclusion Trail. Co-organised by *SCAPE, the eight-station trail provided participants with fun facts about the neighbourhood and challenged them on their knowledge about disability. Guests were also given special access to Singapore’s only remaining pre-war civilian air raid shelter.
Prem Shahri, who was a volunteer for the inclusion trial, enjoyed the stint as it allowed him to understand more about SPD. He said: “This event was an eye-opener for me. I was delighted to know that SPD has put in a lot of effort in creating the awareness of people who are less fortunate or have disabilities. Everyone who came for the Open House should be given a double ‘thumbs up’ for such active and cheerful participation despite the wet weather. I am very thankful to SPD for this wonderful service they are providing to people with disabilities and for helping them in many other ways such as job placement and engaging them in various activities.”
Nearby businesses such as Bincho, Books Actually, Forty Hands, Plain Vanilla, Wild Barley Gourmet Shop, and Yoga Inc displayed their solidarity with SPD by extending exciting offers in conjunction with the Open House.
There are still many ways to show your support for inclusion:
• Visit the “Let’s Focus on Inclusion!” roving photo exhibition at Ci Yuan Community Club between 20 March and 3 April, or thereafter at The Frontier Community Club between 3 and 17 April
• Tune in to and support the SPD Charity Show 2017 taking place at 7pm over Channel 8 on Sunday, 19 March 2017
• Be a disability advocate – lead by example, show acceptance and help spread the message of inclusion
• The general public can add the SPD Breaking Barriers badge to their Facebook profile picture.
The SPD Open House is part of SPD’s “Breaking Barriers” campaign, a 10-week public awareness campaign to build greater disability awareness and inclusion in the community.