SINGAPORE: A new foundation established by Singapore-based fintech firm Aleta Planet has donated S$100,000 to the Mediacorp Enable Fund, the company said on Friday (Oct 16) in a media release.
Aleta Planet announced on Friday that the foundation will make donations to various charities, aiming to “create a positive impact on society at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic has adversely affected many livelihoods”.
It will support the needs of the elderly and children in the local community, with an initial commitment of S$200,000, said the company.
The first of such donations is S$100,000 to the Mediacorp Enable Fund, a community fund administered by SG Enable that aims to help build a society where people with disabilities, including the elderly and children, “are recognised for their abilities and are able to lead full, socially integrated lives”.
SG Enable chief executive officer Ku Geok Boon said: “We are deeply grateful to Aleta Planet Foundation for their strong spirit of charity and choosing the Mediacorp Enable Fund to make their first donation.
“The generous contribution will provide much-needed financial assistance in meeting the last mile needs of persons with disabilities, as well as to help them fulfil their aspirations in life.”
This will enable the foundation to connect with suitable charity partners as well as manage the funds it receives.
CEO of the Community Foundation of Singapore Catherine Loh said: “We look forward to closer collaboration with the Aleta Planet Foundation to identify gaps in the community so as to foster more effective giving and amplify the positive impact they have on our society.”
Aleta Planet Foundation said its support for the elderly “will go particularly towards those abandoned by their families and those having to work despite their frailties”.
It will also focus on children with disabilities and those from low-income families whose parents “have little means to help them reach their full potential”.
Aleta Planet chairman and group CEO Ryan Gwee said that contributions to the foundation will increase over time “as part of a sustainable corporate giving culture”.
“As Aleta Planet has reached a level of growth, we feel that it is now fitting for us to give back to the community in which we operate,” said Mr Gwee.
“This is especially timely amid a pandemic and recession that have created considerable hardship for the most vulnerable groups living on the fringes of our society.
From cooked meals and cash relief to the provision of essentials, a new initiative by the Mediacorp Enable Fund — a charity fund by national media network Mediacorp and SG Enable — aims to help people with disabilities and their caregivers ride out the Covid-19 pandemic.
The initiative “C.A.R.E.” — short for the provision of cooked meals, assistance funds, respite care and essentials — will be driven by public donations, Mediacorp said in a statement on Thursday (May 14) as it launched the scheme.
The funds collected from the campaign will give beneficiaries access to:
Cooked meals. These will be for persons with physical disabilities or those with visual impairment who are living alone, frail persons with disabilities and aged caregivers
A one-off cash relief of S$400 for families with multiple persons with disabilities who face financial hardship and caregiving stress. This will help the families defray the costs of daily expenses and other needs, such as medical costs
Respite care — home-based respite that provides relief for caregivers. This will minimise the risks of burnout and injury for low-income elderly carers who look after persons with disabilities round-the-clock
Fortnightly distribution of dry food rations. This will help persons with physical disabilities or those with visual impairment who are living alone, frail persons with disabilities and elderly caregivers
Mediacorp said the impact of the Covid-19 outbreak on people with disabilities and their caregivers has been “disproportionately huge”.
Those among this group who are seeking employment or are working have been hit hard, with some having lost their jobs, the company noted.
“Many have not been able to access rehabilitation and care services when non-essential services are suspended, while others face greater difficulty getting food and necessities due to mobility challenges,” Mediacorp said.
Singapore is in the midst of an eight-week circuit breaker to curb the spread of Covid-19, with rules to limit business activity and restrict movement for all but essential activities.
To drive the initiative, the Mediacorp Enable Fund — a community fund administered by SG Enable, an agency supporting people with disabilities — has started a fundraising campaign on the Giving.sg website. It has set a target to raise S$500,000 by the end of June.
Six Mediacorp personalities will chip in to the fundraising drive by rallying support and appealing for donations on Mediacorp platforms and social media.
They are presenters Glenda Chong (regional news network CNA), Fadli Kamsani (Warna 94.2FM), Lin Peifen (Yes 933), Chris Mak (987FM), Mohamed Rafi (Oli 96.8FM), as well as artiste Denise Camillia Tan from The Celebrity Agency.
Mediacorp chief executive officer Tham Loke Kheng said that nobody is spared the impact of the pandemic, in particular persons with disabilities and their caregivers.
“Mediacorp is committed to working with SG Enable to do our part to help this vulnerable group by leveraging our media network as well as the reach and influence of our artistes… to spread awareness of the C.A.R.E. donation drive,” she said.
“We hope that members of the public who are able to help can support wholeheartedly and generously.”
Read more at https://www.todayonline.com/singapore/mediacorp-launches-scheme-support-persons-disabilities-their-caregivers-during-covid-19
ABLE began with a vision that the physically challenged should not be left behind in society. That singular idea led to the founding of Abilities Beyond Limitations and Expectations (ABLE) in 2009 which sits under Caritas Singapore, the official social and community arm of the Catholic Church in Singapore.
A decade in, ABLE has empowered many with physical disabilities to live dignified, productive and independent lives through their signature Return-to-Work (RTW) programme.
“We customise our Return-To-Work programme based on the needs of each client, who may have acquired a disability resulting from conditions such as a stroke or traumatic brain injury,” said ABLE’s Rehabilitation Programme Manager, Carmen Lok.
Always looking to support efforts that enable those with disabilities, it was natural for Mediacorp Enable Fund (MEF) to support ABLE’s initiatives through a partnership with SG Enable. MEF supports some of ABLE’s employment support services, allowing the charity to help people with acquired disabilities return to work.
“The partnership is very important to us especially in our efforts to help those with disabilities who come from low-income backgrounds,” said Ms Lok.
ABLE’s work may be targeted specifically at persons with disabilities, but for those it helps, ABLE is central to their sense of worth and well-being. Manfred Seah, 59, would certainly testify to this. Eight years ago, Mr Seah’s world fell apart because of a single, though deadly, bout of fever.
“I was on a business to trip to the US when I suddenly came down with a fever. I carried on with my activities as usual but after I returned to Singapore five days later, I had to be sent to the ICU. I was in a coma for one and a half months due to a viral infection,” recalled Mr Seah.
The virus attacked Mr Seah’s spinal cord and brain. By the time he woke up, Mr Seah could no longer walk and his left eye was affected. For a year, he was bed-ridden and had to undergo physiotherapy at home.
“After a while, I realised I couldn’t carry on like that. So, St Andrew’s Community Hospital, where I was undergoing physiotherapy, linked me up with ABLE in 2017.”
ABLE became integral to Mr Seah’s efforts to return to the workforce.
Mr Seah entered ABLE’s multi-disciplinary Rehabilitation and Training programme that includes rehabilitation, employment support, training and social work services. He started off with physiotherapy to improve his activities of daily living and increase his community mobility. Through employment support sessions, he explored potential job sectors, discovered what he wanted in his career and identified his training needs to achieve his career goal.
“I used to be the head of my company’s IT department, so I wanted to go back into something IT-related,” said Mr Seah.
ABLE’s Employment Support Specialist provided vocational counselling and helped him match his skills to available jobs and re-design his skill sets to increase his employability. When he was ready to go on a job hunt, ABLE was on hand to assist Mr Seah in the creation of a new resume and to approach employers.
“We have been fortunate enough to work with many inclusive employers willing to employ those with disabilities and give them a new lease of life. A common misconception employers have is that they would need to invest a huge amount of resources into accommodating employees with disabilities. However, this is often not the case. For example, it may be as simple as customizing the employee’s job tasks based on their strengths and abilities,” said Ms Lok.
Persons with disabilities face a variety of challenges when they seek employment. For example, some companies do not have group insurance that can cover the new hires with disabilities because of their pre-existing medical conditions. Others, like one employer who initially wanted to hire Mr Seah, do not have wheelchair-friendly offices.
“They wanted to hire me to teach English to their employees but their office didn’t have an elevator,” said Mr Seah.
In May 2018, a year after getting assistance from ABLE, he managed to secure a job as an IT system Advisor in an SME.
ABLE’s support does not end when its clients become employed.
“We offer post-employment support to help them transition back into the workforce,” said Ms Lok.
ABLE’s Employment Support Specialist visited Mr Seah’s workplace to better understand his work environment and provide accommodations advisory to Mr Seah’s employer if needed.
“This is so the newly employed can excel at their jobs,” said Ms Lok.
Life may not always be fair, but everyone deserves a fair chance. That is why ABLE strives to give everyone a success story like Mr Seah’s.
Theirs is an unlikely friendship. D J Saravana Kumar is a senior graphics designer at Fraunhofer Singapore. Tan Whee Boon is a quadruple amputee who lost his limbs as a result of a bacterial infection. They would never have met if not for an Israeli humanitarian project that became global.
A Real Need
Mr Tan has no hands and his legs end at mid-calf. A plate of yusheng, a raw fish dish, he ate in 2015 caused a near-fatal case of food poisoning that landed him in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). Sadly, the drug that helped him fight the Group B Streptococcus (GBS) infection also caused gangrene to develop in all four of his limbs. Amputation was the only way to save his life.
Once a technician in the gas industry, Tan had to quit his job. Activities he used to enjoy – swimming and basketball – became impossible.
“Without hands and feet, I just sink,” he said ruefully.
While he did eventually learn to move around on a donated motorised wheelchair, feed himself with the aid of elastic bands his wife sewed for him and even type using a stylus pen, Mr Tan is far from independent.
“I can’t go out on my own for long because I can’t go to the bathroom without help,” he said.
For that, he relies on his wife Madam Choong Siet Mei, 52, who is now also his caregiver.
“She has to be with me 24/7,” said the father of two.
The logical solution to his difficulties would have been prosthetic arms, and though he did receive some from helpful donors, they all proved ineffective. One from the United States could not grip the water hose that would have enabled him to shower on his own. Another from Hong Kong took up to 15 minutes to put on even with help and was too heavy to really use.
A Community Effort
It is for people just like Tan that organisations such as Tikkun Olm Makers (TOM), Hebrew for “repairing the world”, exists. The global non-profit network brings together local communities, getting people to harness technology to solve everyday problems of those with special needs.
In June 2019, TOM organised its first MakeAthon in Singapore where 60 local and Israeli Makers from various walks of life and with different expertise came together to overcome the daily challenges of 15 Need Knowers living with disabilities.
Joining the community effort was Mediacorp Enable Fund (MEF) which raised $30,000 as the main sponsor. Community efforts like these that promote integration are very much in tandem with MEF’s belief that society needs to support inclusion and champion the cause of people with disabilities.
Over three days, the team that worked on Tan’s problem, Team PJ, laboured to design a prosthetic arm with a hand that could function like a real one. The six members, who had never met till then, comprised physiotherapist students, computer science researchers and a teacher led by Kumar who has 10 years’ experience in 3D modelling. Tan provided real-time feedback as the team worked, their common goal drawing them together.
“He was at the side cheering us on, he brought us life,” said Kumar, an Indian national who moved to Singapore with his family six years ago.
Added Tan: “Participating in the creation process was the best part of the whole experience because I felt like I had a part to play.”
In the end, the team came up with a prototype – a 3D-printed rotating prosthetic arm with a grabbing mechanism that could be worn without help. They were awarded a joint third prize as well as $2,000 for their effort.
A Solution at Hand
It has been more than six months since but the bond forged between Tan and Kumar during those intense three days is just as strong, and the commitment to give Tan a hand that works remains.
“He is still working on fine-tuning the prosthetic arm. We visit each other or he calls,” said Tan.
While the prototype could grip things, the grip was not firm enough. The next version improved on this but there was the issue of control.
“I could pick up the water hose but I couldn’t control it,” explained Tan.
The third try resulted in a prosthetic hand that had good grip and control but was too heavy. Kumar is not giving up, though.
“Previously, I would just spend my time playing games on my computer,” he said. “I wouldn’t know what to do with my spare time. Now I know what I want to do.”
This is creativity for a worthy cause. This is technology put to good use. This is community support at its very best.
SINGAPORE: More than S$2 million was raised at a charity launch of Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong’s biography – A Tall Order: The Goh Chok Tong Story on Wednesday (Nov 21).
The charity event sold more than 250 copies of the book autographed by Mr Goh. The books were priced at S$2,000, S$10,000 and S$50,000.
The proceeds from the event, as well as all royalties from the sales of the books, will go towards two charities Mr Goh is patron of – the Mediacorp Enable Fund and EduGrow for Brighter Tomorrows.
The book, which documents Mr Goh’s life and career, was officially launched on Nov 8 by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. It is written by former Straits Times journalist Peh Shing Huei.
Speaking at the event, Mr Goh said his generation enjoyed meritocracy and social mobility put in place by the Government and nurtured by society. He stressed that it’s important to continue efforts to keep Singapore a meritocratic society.
“A government bursary paid my way through university, my life turned out well, not just because of my own effort but also because of our practice of meritocracy, ” said Mr Goh.
“I did not have to rely on ‘guanxi’ (Chinese for networks or connections), I had equal opportunities to study, compete, get a job and do well on my own steam,” he said.
“Meritocracy cannot be left to its own devices. We must constantly adjust to maintain an open system with opportunities for all Singaporeans to advance themselves,” he added.
The Mediacorp Enable Fund, formerly known as the Today Enable Fund, seeks to help people with disabilities realise their aspirations, improve their skills and work prospects.
EduGrow for Brighter Tomorrows is an initiative that supports the growth of children from disadvantaged families in areas including education and character building.
SINGAPORE – More than S$960,000 was raised for the TODAY Enable Fund and local charity iC2 PrepHouse at The Enabling Fund Gala Dinner held at the Grand Hyatt Singapore hotel on Friday (Aug 24).
The amount, raised through donations, table sales and a live auction, is the largest amount raised from various TODAY Enable Fund fundraising efforts by far.
The gala dinner was jointly organised by SG Enable, an agency that supports persons with disabilities, and iC2 PrepHouse, an organisation that provides support to visually-impaired persons and their families.
The money raised will go to both the TODAY Enable Fund and the charity.
The TODAY Enable Fund – administered by SG Enable – was launched in December 2016 to nurture the talent of persons with disabilities, help them fulfil their aspirations, as well as improve their education, skills and employment prospects.
Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong, the fund’s patron, was the guest-of-honour at Friday’s gala dinner.
“It is not possible for the bureaucracy to pay individual attention to the special needs of each person with disabilities, the spectrum of disabilities and needs is just too wide. Each person with disability is unique… This is where charities and voluntary welfare organisations come in,” said Mr Goh.
He said the TODAY Enable Fund can help individuals with disabilities fulfil their dreams. “I want to help them discover their undiscovered talents and abilities. I want them to lead a normal life in the mainstream society,” he said.
“We want a Singapore where (it is the norm for) people with disabilities contribute and achieve in society.”
Items auctioned off included a wire sculpture by special needs artist Joshua Tseng, Peranakan jewellery and a pair of Singapore Airlines business class tickets to New York.
Of the amount raised on Friday night, S$270,000 came from property developer Far East Organisation, which also pledged to contribute S$250,000 every year to the TODAY Enable Fund over the next three years.
Other donors included Lieutenant-General (Retired) Ng Jui Ping and property developer Kwee Liong Tek.
Lt-Gen (Ret) Ng said they made the winning bid of S$13,000 for the wire sculpture but redonated the item so that it could be auctioned off again.
“I think that Singaporeans who have done reasonably in their careers and lives should make a special effort to help those who are less endowed from birth,” he said.
The sculptor Mr Tseng, a 21-year-old undergraduate, said the amount raised at the auction exceeded his expectations.
Mr Tseng, whose vision rapidly deteriorated a few years ago, hopes the money will help those who are in similar circumstances. He received help from iC2, which subsidised his lessons and covered the cost of equipment needed for him to continue his studies.
To date, 31 beneficiaries have each received S$2,000 to S$3,000 from the TODAY Enable Fund. It helped Mr Lim Han Ming, 21, to pay for an illustration course and will help Mr Kenneth Lee, 26, to publish a short comic book.
The fund helped Ms Nuraqilah Fatin Swat, 23, to defray the cost of training and purchasing equipment for a latte art competition. For Mr Mohamad Ashree Mokri, 49, the money came in handy for courses in basic sports science and fitness training to support his dream of becoming part of the Singapore para powerlifting team.
The fund has also helped to pay for transition programmes for 280 persons with disabilities. Transition programmes help to maximise their learning and work potential, and enable them to lead more independent lives.
Some 6,000 people have also benefited from community integration efforts under the fund, aimed at fostering inclusion and greater empathy for persons with disabilities.
SINGAPORE — Through its support services, one local charity is hoping to help visually-impaired persons lead a mainstream life, which includes studying at mainstream schools.
As Dr Audrey Looi, 48, founding board director of charity iC2 PrepHouse, said: “For the low-vision cohort, mainstream schooling is best for them because apart from the vision disability, they don’t have, for instance, mental disability that hampers their studies.”
But to cope, these visually-impaired people need to acquire compensatory skills — such as the use of braille, assistive technology and computer skills, social interaction skills. And this is where iC2 PrepHouse, set up in November 2012, comes in.
Like a preparatory centre, it teaches clients from all ages, from toddlers to students in tertiary institutions, these compensatory life skills. The clients can visit the centre whenever they feel they need help in acquiring new skills, or when they encounter difficulties. Some visit weekly, others visit monthly, depending on their individual needs.
Dr Audrey Looi, 48, board director of iC2 PrepHouse and her son James Ang, 17. James was diagnosed with Stargardt’s macular dystrophy, a genetic eye disorder which causes progressive vision loss, when he was eight.
About 10 staff work at the centre, with co-founder Madam Lee Lay Hong as the principal trainer. Madam Lee, herself a mother of two visually-impaired children, has a postgraduate degree in special education, specialising in visual impairments.
She went to Australia to learn how to help people with visual impairment so that she could learn to better support her own children. On her return, she wanted to help others like her.
To date, 126 have benefitted from its programme, with 83 beneficiaries still actively seeking intervention at their centre in Jurong Point shopping centre.
Founded by Dr Looi and Mdm Lee, the charity was two mothers’ response to their own struggles in getting specialised support for their low-vision children.
Dr Looi’s 17-year-old son, James Ang, was diagnosed with Stargardt’s macular dystrophy, a genetic eye disorder which causes progressive vision loss, when he was eight. As an eye specialist herself, Dr Looi, a senior consultant at the Oculoplastic Department at Singapore National Eye Centre (SNEC), knew James could continue studying in the mainstream primary school he was attending — with the right support.
But, even though the concept of low-vision curriculum exists in other developed nations like Australia, the UK, and North America, in Singapore, nobody they met knew about it, said Dr Looi’s husband, Dr Ang Beng Ti, 49.
Dr Ang Beng Ti, 49, and Dr Audrey Looi, 48, together with their son James Ang, 17, in their home. Photo: Najeer Yusof/TODAY
The senior consultant and head of department of Neurosurgery atthe National Neuroscience Institute said they even thought of migrating overseas for James’ sake. Then they met Mdm Lee, who was giving ad hoc lessons to help low vision children manage their disability.
Even though Mdm Lee charged only S$30 for travelling expenses, many families who sought her help expected her to provide her service for free. So a year after Dr Looi befriended Mdm Lee, they decided to formalise what Mdm Lee was doing and set up a charity to help others like themselves.
Mr Mirpuri Chandru Gobindram, whose 11-year-old son Grishm Chandru Mirpuri suffers from a visual impairment due to his premature birth, picked up Braille at the centre in his second year at kindergarten. “That gave him a solid foundation to begin his primary education in the mainstream class in Lighthouse School,” said the 49-year-old teacher.
Setting up and running a charity, however, is no easy task. The ability to raise enough funds is a perpetual challenge, given that the charity needs to raise at least S$350,000 per year to sustain its operations, said Dr Looi.
In August, iC2 PrepHouse is organising a charity dinner with SG Enable. Called The Enabling Fund Gala, the event on Aug 24 at Grand Hyatt Singapore aims to raise S$850,000 for iC2 PrepHouse and TODAY Enable Fund, a charitable fund to enhance the education, skills and employment prospects of persons with disabilities.
To find out more about the event, visit https://www.giving.sg/sg-enable-ltd/enablingfundgala
SINGAPORE — Two special needs artists will be performing at a charity gala dinner next month to showcase their talents.
Visually-impaired Sophie Soon, 21, and 28-year-old Parvinderjeet Kaur, who was born with a hearing impairment, will be showing off their skills in the violin and piano respectively at The Enabling Fund Gala dinner taking place at Grand Hyatt Singapore on Aug 24.
Held in support of the TODAY Enable Fund and iC2 PrepHouse, the event has 35 tables available for sponsorship, with 19 already sold. Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong, patron of the TODAY Enable Fund, will be the guest of honour.
Organisers SG Enable and iC2 PrepHouse are looking to raise S$850,000 through donations, table sales, and a live auction. Among the items up for grabs during the charity auction include paintings by beneficiaries of iC2PreHouse, a wire sculpture by special needs artist Joshua Tseng, and a pair of Singapore Airlines business class tickets to New York.
Diners will be serenaded by Ms Soon and Ms Kaur.
Ms Soon was diagnosed at age five with an inherited visual impairment called Cone-Rod Dystrophy. Her condition, which started off with her experiencing difficulties seeing small prints and details, has degenerated to her being unable to identify colours or tell them apart.
But that did not stop her from pursuing a passion for music. The solo violinist, a beneficiary of iC2 PrepHouse, will perform Johann Sebastian Bach’s Double Violin Concerto in D Minor during the dinner.
Ms Kaur, who is deaf in her right ear and has partial hearing loss in her left ear, did not let that stop her from picking up the piano, after she got interested in the instrument after hearing a recital during her kindergarten years.
Today, she is pursuing a diploma in piano teaching with the help of TODAY Enable Fund, and is expected to graduate at the end of the year. Upon graduation, one of her goals is to teach children with special needs how to play the piano.
“I’m very grateful to SG Enable for giving me an opportunity to perform for the fund raising dinner event. I’m glad that I’m able to use my talent to contribute to the society by giving hope to people around me through my performance,” she said.
During the dinner, she will be performing two pieces: a nostalgic song composed by Miguel Manzano and Sonatina from the Second Movement composed by Arvo Part.
Members of the public interested to take part in the gala dinner or make a cash donation can call 1800 8585 885 or email email@example.com to find out more.
The TODAY Enable Fund is a charitable fund to enhance the education, skills and employment prospects of persons with disabilities, as well as to foster greater empathy and inclusion for persons with disabilities in the wider community. It also helps to fulfil aspirations of persons with disabilities.
iC2 PrepHouse is an organisation that provides support to visually-impaired persons and their families. In helping children with low vision stay in mainstream schools and in teaching them coping skills in everyday living, iC2 PrepHouse aims to prepare them for an independent and fulfilling future.
SINGAPORE — Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin has helped to raise S$120,000 for the TODAY Enable Fund following a private dinner last month, where 10 of his limited-edition photographic prints were put up for sale.
Five of the framed photographs – printed on metal – sold for at least S$10,000 each and one was re-donated for resale during the May 17 event at The Sapling restaurant in the Enabling Village.
The photographs, featuring architectural landmarks such as St Paul’s Cathedral in London and landscapes such as the Sierra de Guadarrama National Park in Spain, were later put up for public exhibition at the Enabling Village.
“We are very encouraged by the funds raised. But we are still targeting to raise more funds as there are a few more prints seeking generous donors,” Mr Tan told TODAY via email on Tuesday (June 5).
“I hope that we can do our part to generate more awareness and to encourage more of us to be involved in helping those who need a little extra assistance.”
Buyers of the photo prints include Sunray Woodcraft Construction, OCBC Bank and anonymous donors.
Mr Klaus Gottschalk, general manager of the Grand Mercure Singapore Roxy hotel, which contributed S$3,688 to the event, said: “We’re very happy to be a part of it, to help members of the disabled community …and to give them the opportunity. So we are very much in support of the TODAY Enable Fund.”
In a speech to guests at the private event, Mr Tan touched on how inclusivity can benefit the wider community.
He cited how companies that employ disabled persons have gained from the positive impact on work culture.
“People learn to be more patient…more caring. Some organisations put them in the frontline and they found that the public is less abusive to the frontline (staff),” he told the 70-odd guests.
Society also benefits when persons with disabilities are accepted as part of the community, he said.
“What other ways do we have to inculcate values? You can teach, you can talk, but I think it’s in the giving that the change happens. When we give of ourselves, when we are involved… in the process, you look at life very differently as well,” he added.
“And the wonderful thing is, all of us can do something about it.”
TODAY Enable Fund is a charitable fund to enhance the education, skills and employment prospects of persons with disabilities.
It supports programmes to foster greater empathy and inclusion for persons with disabilities in the wider community and also helps to fulfil the aspirations of persons with disabilities.
Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong is the fund’s patron while SG Enable, an agency dedicated to helping people with special needs, is the fund administrator.
A target of S$1 million has been set this year for the fund, for which a charity dinner will be organised in August.
Those interested in the six available photo prints may email firstname.lastname@example.org.
SINGAPORE — Ten limited-edition photographic prints by Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin have been put up for sale to raise funds for the special-needs community.
Featuring architectural landmarks such as St Paul’s Cathedral beside the River Thames in London, the iconic Sydney Opera House at dawn, as well as natural elements like a flowing stream in Guadarrama National Park of Spain, the landscape portraits were taken by Mr Tan during his overseas trips over the years.
The 100cm x 80cm framed photographs, printed on metal, are available for purchase at a private event at a price of at least S$10,000 each, though Mr Tan said he “warmly welcomes” anyone who wishes to contribute more.
Among the prints Mr Tan donated included this image of a flowing stream in Guadarrama National Park of Spain, which was captured using long exposure.
The signed prints will go on public exhibition at the Enabling Village on Friday and Saturday (May 18 and 19), and next week (May 21 to 24), between 10am and 2.30pm.
Funds raised from the sale of the prints and the private event will go to the TODAY Enable Fund, a charitable fund to enhance the education, skills and employment prospects of persons with disabilities, as well as to foster greater empathy and inclusion for persons with disabilities in the wider community. It also helps to fulfil aspirations of persons with disabilities.
For this year, a target of S$1 million has been set for the fund, which has Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong as its patron.
No stranger to raising funds with his photographs, Mr Tan said it was something he had in mind when he “first entered politics”.
In 2014, he launched a photo book sale of his prints, which raised about S$3 million to date, inclusive of government matching funds for amount donated. The funds were used to support four charities. From that, he went on to selling individual prints for charity, though this is the first time he is donating his prints for the TODAY Enable Fund.
“The key purpose of the Today Enable Fund is to support the disabled, and in the process, raise awareness about the challenges they face. Critically, I hope that the public will then also go on to give their time, which is perhaps even more precious,” Mr Tan said.
An avid photographer, Mr Tan first got into the hobby in 1988. To him, photography reflects how one perceives the world, and through it, one may find an interesting side to something that may at first appear quite ordinary.
For example, he said his print of St James Cathedral on River Thames turned out to be a better than expected shot after he realised that he had serendipitously captured a couple embracing on the bridge.
This photo of St Paul’s Cathedral in London, in which Mr Tan serendipitously captured a couple embracing, was an example of how through photography, one may discover an interesting side to something that might at first glance appear ordinary.
Asked about his most memorable photo in the collection of 10 put up for sale, Mr Tan pointed at the frame of Tongariro Crossing, taken from the top of Mount Ngauruhoe in New Zealand in 2009.
Recounting how it was taken, he said he had to convince his training comrades to hike up the mountain with him to capture that shot. As it was after an exhausting military training, he said: “Initially, we thought of not walking up [the mountain], because it seemed quite steep and difficult. But we were rewarded with quite fantastic view. In many ways, this image reminds me of the friendship.”
This image of the Tongariro Crossing in New Zealand, taken from the top of Mount Ngauruhoe, is the most memorable photo Mr Tan snapped in the collection of 10 he has donated to raise funds for the TODAY Enable Fund.
The challenge of photography lies in having just “that moment” to capture the perfect shot, he said.
“That moment may be cloudy, or the lights may not be quite as ideal. So you have to do what you can. It’s like life, it’s about how you look at the world around you. Perhaps some scenes are seemingly less than perfect, but then, even with something that is less than ideal, it [can] turn out [to be] quite special as well. That is really about how you choose to look at things,” he said.