Dr Vivian Balakrishnan
Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports, and Second Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts
Mr See Cher,
President, Society for the Physically Disabled
Ladies and Gentlemen
I am delighted to be here today to launch the Wearnes Centennial-SPD Fund, and the National Wheelchair Enabler Competition.
Wearnes seek solutions to enable and empower people. This year, we adopted the SPD as part of our year long centennial celebrations. We’ve so far raised nearly $300,000, but I believe with the help of all of you, we can do more.
The Wearnes-SPD fund will support research and development for SPD’s Assistive Technology, or AT programme. Technology is a key enabler to improve the quality of life for the physically disabled, and to help them overcome the limitations of their disabilities. Coming from a company which focuses very much on new technologies, I am very happy today to witness the first fruits of our partnership with the SPD. The Wheelchair Enabler, developed by NTU, allows wheelchair users to move around more freely and easily in public spaces. It is a simple device yet it will open a new world of opportunities, allowing users to commute on our public transport system, and better integrate into the community.
We are excited about the potential of AT and how it can improve the lives of the disabled. We hope our little effort to help fund R&D of AT devices will encourage others to develop locally made equipment for the disabled. We believe that with more support from companies and individuals, and more awareness among the public, this can lead to cheaper, more practical and affordable AT devices for those who need it.
While this partnership is a small step towards that goal, we believe it will help in the long journey that disabled individuals have to undertake as they seek to live enriching and rewarding lives.