SPD-HOPE Education Programme for People with Disabilities

Singapore, 2 February 2002 – Adrian Tan Zeng Yi’s mother had to give up her job so that she can take him to school everyday. Adrian, who suffers from Athetoid Cerebal Palsy, is jerky and erratic in his movements. He cannot feed himself without dirtying his clothes and has difficulty holding a pen to write or a book to read. In spite of this, the secondary two pupil loves to study and wants to be a computer engineer.

The Society for the Physically Disabled (SPD) and his School, Bishan Park Secondary School will try to help him fulfill his ambition. Adrian said, with a slight slur, “I am very grateful to my school for making special efforts to adapt the environment to allow me to study and learn as other able-bodied students. My school places a computer in my class for me to take notes as I cannot hold the pen to write. I am also very glad to have SPD to lessen the financial burden that my family would, otherwise, need to worry about putting me through school.”

Adrian and 225 other students received study grants totalling $201,500 at the SPD-HOPE Education Programme Awards Presentation Ceremony this afternoon. Mr Chan Soo Sen, Minister of State for the Prime Minister’s Office and Ministry of Community Development presented the grants to the students on behalf of SPD.

The number of students benefiting from this programme has more than doubled while the financial assistance awarded has almost tripled since its inception in 1998. The goal of the programme is to provide financial assistance to allow disabled students or students with disabled parents to pursue academic dreams and goals 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.

In his speech, President of The Society for the Physically Disabled, Mr Koh Nai Teck congratulated the award recipients and urged the students to “think of education as the means of developing our greatest abilities, because in each of us there is a private hope and dream which, fulfilled, can be translated into benefit for everyone and greater strength for our nation.”

This is the fifth year that the Hope Fund has sponsored the financial grants given to the students with disabilities and students with disabled parents to study in mainstream and special education.

“Financial hardship should not be a hindrance to students with disabilities from receiving education. The Hope Fund is glad to partner SPD in providing financial support to the students, as only with a sound education can one find employment security in a knowledge-based economy.” Said Mr Stanley Tan, member of the Hope Fund Management Committee.