Singapore, 10 February 2001 – A sum of $180,000 was given out to 216 students at the SPD-DBS-HOPE Education Programme Awards Presentation Ceremony organised by The Society for the Physically Disabled. The number of students benefiting from this programme and the quantum awarded has more than doubled since its inception in 1998.
The Awards Presentation Ceremony, which was held at Mandarin Hotel Singapore, was officiated by Mr Abdullah Tarmugi, Minister for Community Development and Sports.
The programme started in 1997 when a total of $72,000 was awarded to 99 students in 1998. Today, there are 216 recipients receiving a total of $180,000 for the year. Of the 216 recipients, 45 are pursuing studies in the tertiary institutions. The programme awards range from $300 for primary school level and up to $6,000 for university level. To be eligible, the students’ family’s income must not exceed $3,000 per month.
The goal of the programme is to provide financial assistance to allow disabled students or students with disabled parents to pursue their education and to carve a bright future for themselves without monetary worries. The programme encourages students to set academic goals and work hard at achieving them without the worry of being a burden to their family. Financial hardship would not be a hindrance because the programme supports them all the way to university level.
“A strong academic foundation is a stepping stone to job security in a knowledge-based economy. Thus, it is very crucial for all to get a sound education for a good start in one’s employment career. SPD’s education award programme will provide disabled students and students with disabled parents from low-income families the opportunity to compete with their counterparts on a level playing field. As long as they dare to dream and are willing to work hard, we will back them all the way to university level,” said Mr Koh Nai Teck, President of The Society for the Physically Disabled.
The Hope Fund has been the financial backbone of the programme for the last 4 years. Mr Stanley Tan, a member of the Hope Fund Management Committee, remarked, “A good education help pave the way to social integration and socio-economic independence.
The Hope Fund is pleased to have spearheaded and facilitated the opportunity in encouraging self-reliance and enhancing the dignity of people with disabilities through provision of the education awards.”
This worthy programme has also won the support from DBS Bank for the second year. DBS Bank has increased its contribution to $100,000 to the programme from $60,000 in 2000.
Mr Philippe Paillart, Vice Chairman and CEO of DBS, said, “DBS has actively supported charitable causes, educational projects and cultural events of nation-wide significance for many years. We believe in being a good corporate citizen, and investing not only our money but our time in the communities in which we conduct our businesses. While the Bank make a conscious effort to help Singaporeans help themselves through the SPD-DBS-Hope Fund, our staff are also committed to performing volunteer work, in particular with welfare organisations. The difference between a good company and a great company lies not in its efficiency, balance sheet or P&L statement; it lies in its people – in how its people work, live and contribute to the communities in which the company conducts its businesses.”