SPD Donor Appreciation Reception 2023 – Speech by Ms Ong Toon Hui

President Halimah Yacob, Patron of SPD,

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen

Good evening and welcome to the SPD Donor Appreciation Reception. Thank you for taking the time to join us, especially on a Friday evening.  We also want to thank our Patron, President Halimah, for graciously agreeing to host this reception, enabling us to honour our supporters at this iconic location – the Istana.


SPD is one of the more established social service organisations in Singapore. For close to 60 years, we have been a strong supporter and advocate for the community of people with disabilities. From a small and humble workshop providing sheltered employment for those with physical disabilities, SPD has grown and expanded its services over time to meet emerging needs.  We now serve people with a range of disabilities, beyond physical, to sensory and developmental disabilities. We also provide services to clients at different life stages – early intervention for young children, education support for school-going children, helping adults with employment and skills training, and providing care in their senior years. SPD now runs over 20 programmes and services and we also focus on the enablers – public education, caregiver support, and assistive technology.  

We aspire to be part of the national effort, to promote greater inclusiveness and enabling people with disabilities to live with independence and dignity. Data trends show that the demand for such services is growing.  The 2020 Census report indicate that close to 100,000 Singaporean residents were unable to or had some difficulty performing at least one basic activity.  For an ageing population like ours, while we live longer, we are expected to spend three to eight years of our lives with some form of disabilities. In 2021, it was reported that more young children have been diagnosed with developmental delays, with new cases rising by about 25% in the last 5 years. At the national level, there are ambitious plans such as the Enabling Masterplan 2030, Healthier SG being rolled out to address our long-term social challenges.

SPD should prepare and ready ourselves to play a part to support these emerging needs. Our hallmark is that we strive to continuously innovate and evolve so that our services remain relevant, accessible and affordable. Our track record has been good. Some of our recent achievements include being the first known community service provider in Singapore to launch the Brain Injury Rehabilitation Programme, as well as the setting up of a social enterprise, in the form of a contact centre to provide training and employment for persons with disabilities. In a few months’ time, we are bringing more integrated services to support clients and their caregivers living in Bedok and Tampines. We are also opening two new senior care centres in the northern part of Singapore in the next two years.


For these reasons, we are grateful for the support and goodwill of corporates and individuals who share our passion and mission. During the pandemic period, with the suspension of in-person fundraising events, we were very concerned if we could raise sufficient funds to continue our services to clients. On reflection, we were very blessed to have like-minded donors, some of whom are with us here today, who continue to stand by us and believe in the work that we do. With your unwavering support, we were able to raise more than $5 million in the last financial year, enabling us to continue delivering quality services to over 10,500 beneficiaries.

As we transit back to normality, we are thankful that we could resume events such as the SPD Ability Walk and Run and the SPD Charity Golf last year. The pandemic has taught us a precious lesson – that we can do more with less and adopt innovative ways of running our business and operations.  We are also mindful that although Covid-19 is behind us, there are dark clouds in the horizon such as the geopoIitical tensions, rising inflation and slower economic growth, which in turn will impact many Singaporeans, including those we serve. Therefore, we hope that you will continue to work with us so that our beneficiaries and their loved ones do not get left behind.


On behalf of SPD’s Board of Management, the staff and the people with disabilities whom we serve, thank you for your partnership and generosity. Your example will inspire more individuals and corporates to step forward to contribute to this meaningful cause. Our work to promote a more inclusive society continues, and we look forward to having you as a valuable partner in this journey.

Thank you and I wish you a pleasant evening.