SPD Education Programme 2010 – Speech by Ms Chia Yong Yong

Speech for SPD Education Programme 2010

30 Jan 2010

Speech by Ms Chia Yong Yong, President, SPD Board of Management and Chairperson, SPD Education Programme, at the SPD Education Programme Awards Presentation Ceremony on Saturday 30 January 2010, at 10.30am at Function Hall, Singapore Botanic Garden.


Ms Grace Fu
Senior Minister of State
Ministry of National Development and Ministry of Education


Distinguished guests

Ladies and gentlemen

Boys and girls


Good morning,



1. On behalf of SPD, I would like to thank our Guest-of-Honour, Ms Grace Fu, Senior Minister of State for the Ministry of National Development and Ministry of Education, and distinguished guests for attending the ceremony this morning despite your busy schedules.


2. Since its inception in 1985, the SPD Education Programme has provided financial awards for the mainstream school education of students with physical disabilities or who have parents with physical disabilities. In 1985, 25 students were awarded a total of $9,100 for their studies. This year, we are supporting about 150 students awarding over $100,000. With the bursaries and hence fewer economic burdens, our recipients can focus on achieving their academic goals.

3. Yet, the SPD Education Programme is more than a provider of financial awards: in the face of an increasingly demanding curriculum in mainstream schools, the SPD Education Programme is holistic and structured, offering a range of services which include centre-based and on-site therapy services, social work support and enrichment programmes.

4. Last year, the SPD Education Programme included a scheme under which recipients with physical disabilities and physically disabled parents of the recipients received complimentary services at SPD. Such services included therapy, assessment and consultation in assistive technology, and enrichment programmes, up to a value of $300 for one year. I am pleased to announce that the scheme will be continued for a second year to further help bursary recipients and their families, in view of the fact that the effects of the economic recovery may not be immediately felt.

5. SPD’s continual provision of the bursaries and service cards in this challenging economic climate stands as a firm testament of our commitment to invest in the educational, rehabilitative and training needs of our students and their families. The presence of our sponsors and supporters is also an affirmation that you share the same belief. We will continue to be your partner in supporting your development into balanced individuals.


6. In line with our mission to enable persons with disabilities to achieve their fullest potential and lead productive and meaningful lives, we are launching the inaugural SPD Youth Aspiration Award to inspire talented youths with physical disabilities to pursue their interests.

7. The SPD Youth Aspiration Award provides a grant of up to $5,000 per recipient and is open for application by youths with physical disabilities from Secondary 1 to University to develop their talents in 3 areas, namely visual and/or performing arts, sports and community service. We want to send a strong signal to our youths with disabilities to adopt a positive mindset of paying it forward. Having a disability is not an entitlement to social assistance.

8. We received a total of 12 applications and today, we are going to present the award to 2 students who will be our first recipients of the inaugural SPD Youth Aspiration Awards under the category of performing arts.


9. This year we will also be awarding the Asia Pacific Breweries Foundation-SPD Scholarship to our remaining scholar – Pearl Lee Shiqi. She will be graduating this May after completing her final semester in the School of Business at Nanyang Technological University.

10. The achievements of our scholars are the result of their hard work and the unwavering support from their families and of course, our sponsor – Asia Pacific Breweries Foundation. Through your support and commitment, our scholars have demonstrated that their potentials can be unlocked.


11. Unfortunately, there are still many in our community who have misconceptions of people with disabilities. In October last year, we commissioned a study on the level of acceptance and inclusion of people with disabilities in Singapore. Almost half of the general public view people with disabilities as dependent and in need of help from others all the time. Sixty-six percent are of the view that people with disabilities should be accompanied by a non-disabled person at public places such as the market, shopping centres, when using the ATM etc. This study shows clearly that more public education is necessary.

12. Through the SPD Education Programme, as we work to maximise the potential of students with disabilities and develop them into contributing members of the community, we hope that the community at large will in time appreciate the abilities of people with disabilities.

13. We are grateful to our sponsors for helping us do just that. Here, I would like to acknowledge our main sponsor NatSteel Holdings Pte Ltd for your commitment to support the bursary awards for two years, and our supporting partner, Credit Suisse, for your contribution. Together, you help our students achieve their academic aspirations.

14. Thank you for investing in our children and youths. Thank you for your belief in the transformational power of education in breaking the poverty cycle and giving them a spring board to fulfill their dreams and aspirations.

15. I would also like to congratulate our students and scholars for your academic achievements. You have braved and overcome the challenges of the past year, and we wish you every success as you embark on yet another academic year ahead.


16. May this year bring us a more inclusive community that opens its arms to students with physical disabilities in the pursuit of their dreams. May this year be a voyage of growth and self-discovery!

Thank you, and good day!