SPH donates $200,000 to charities helping the disabled - Aug 22, 2006 (ST)

BackAug 22, 2006

The Straits Times / The Business Times News On SPH

SPH donates $200,000 to charities helping the disabled

20 help groups get money to support over 5,000 disabled.

Aug 22, 2006
The Straits Times

SINGAPORE Press Holdings (SPH) yesterday handed out $200,000 to charity groups here that are helping the disabled.

Previously, it channelled its donation to programmes for the elderly. It did so for two years running.

This year, for the first time, the media group is supporting 20 charities for the handicapped. These include those working with the intellectually and physically disabled and helping them find jobs.

The beneficiaries include APSN Centre for Adults, the Disabled People's Association and Singapore Cheshire Home Day Care Centre.

Together, they help more than 5,000 disabled adults.

SPH chairman Tony Tan presented the cheque to Community Chest chairman Jennie Chua yesterday at SPH News Centre Auditorium.

In his speech, Dr Tan said SPH's yearly contributions to charity are a 'commitment to sustain our corporate citizenry efforts', which he described as a core value of the group.

Giving an example of those who may benefit from the donation, Dr Tan mentioned Mr Bernard Teo, a 22-year-old who has cerebral palsy. He was sitting in the audience in his wheelchair.

After the speech, Mr Teo said he was 'surprised' by the mention of his name. 'After that, I waved my hand to everybody. I was so surprised and I have to say a big 'thank you' to Dr Tan.

'I will try my best to serve SPD as much as I can,' he added.

Mr Teo joined the Society for the Physically Disabled (SPD) Day Activity Centre in March 2003. There, he has learnt to be more independent. He takes mathematics and computer lessons and also swimming lessons to keep his muscles flexible.

Dr Tan revealed that five of the beneficiaries are charities that provide job-matching and employment services for the disabled.

He also noted the Government's recent announcement that it will set aside $520,000, to be spent over the next two years, to help companies cover the higher cost of hiring disabled staff.

'Finding jobs for the disabled has always been a challenge... we hope to hear of greater success in job placement efforts by Bizlink and other similar agencies,' he said.

Bizlink Centre was one of the recipients. It helps about 250 disabled people find various kinds of jobs every year from accountancy to cleaning and factory production, said its general manager, Mr Alvin Lim.

'The money will help to offset the cost of running job placement services. We are looking into emplacing more people this year,' he said.

Financial relief aside, Dr Tan reminded those present that the disabled need 'care and encouragement' to overcome their constraints.

'The disabled can live an enriching and rewarding life, and make a contribution to Singapore, as long as we are there to support them and they are willing to try their best,' he said.

'We should always bear in mind that disability does not mean inability,' he added.