Vehicle Handover Ceremony – Speech by Dr Ow Chee Chung

A very good afternoon to all our special guests, especially our young guests from the schools.

On behalf of the Society for the Physically Disabled, or SPD in short, I am pleased to extend a very warm welcome to all of you to the SPD Ability Centre.

Transportation is part of our daily activity. On the average, we spend about one to one and half hours traveling from home to workplace, from home to school every day. For many of us, we take the public transport – bus or MRT. However, for SPD beneficiaries, they are not able to take public transport, as our public transportation is not totally accessible to people with physical disabilities and wheelchair users. The other option of taxis is more expensive and many of SPD beneficiaries are not able to afford the higher fares.

Hence, SPD provides affordable door-to-door transport service so that people with physical disabilities would be able to come to the Centre to attend the various activities such as day care, job training and therapy services provided at the SPD Ability Centre. To do so, SPD has eight vans and contract a further seven vehicles to bring about 160 to 180 beneficiaries to the centre every day. A further 380 trips are made every month to bring ad hoc clients who come for rehabilitation, consultation in assistive training and IT training courses. Our vehicles are fully stretched.

Thus, today, we are very happy to see two new vehicles added to our fleet of vehicles. We have waited many months for this day to come. Fundraising started as early as a year ago and the ordering and delivery of the vehicles process took almost nine months. But as you will see later, it’s worth the wait. The 2 new 13-seater minibus adapted with special features like individual foldable seats, floor anchor safety catch for wheelchairs will be able to ferry more people and more wheelchair users. The new vehicles will replace the two older ones that are due for scrapping this year, which are also smaller in capacity.

We are very grateful to all of you who have played a part to make this possible for SPD. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Dr Tan Choon Kim, Chairman, Board of Trustees, Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple for the generous donation and the wonderful support shown by the Temple to SPD over the years. We also thank our long-term supporter, Mr David Lim and Mr Wong Ting Sern for including SPD in their mountaineering plan last year to Mexico. The climb in Mexico was also an excellent opportunity for partnership with four schools. We would like to acknowledge the participation of CHIJ Kellock, Henry Park Primary, Marsiling Secondary and Seng Kang Secondary School for your efforts in raising the much-needed funds to buy a new vehicle through the expedition.

SPD is unable to do all the work alone. For 40 years, we have been working in partnership with members of the public, corporate organisations, community groups and schools to achieve our mission to develop the potential of people with disabilities to the fullest so that they can be self-reliant and independent. We are very thankful for your support and we look forward to receiving your continuing participation in this journey with us.

Once again, on behalf of our beneficiaries, I would like to thank all our supporters and donors, many whom are still very young students from schools. I am sure your teachers and parents are proud of your effort. We wish you all a pleasant afternoon with us today.

Thank you.