This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Handicaps Welfare Association (HWA) in serving the community. To commemorate their journey in “impacting lives and bridging communities,” a charity dinner was organized and held on 27 June 2009 at the Pioneer Spring Restaurant, located at SAFRA Mount Faber.
Nancy Chia, President of HWA was especially grateful to Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports, and members who graced the event; as well as the amount of S$135,000 that was raised through donations amidst an economic downturn and the H1N1 crisis. Chia believes that as the association enters its 40th year of service in these trying times, “we need to keep pressing on and keep the association running.”
Since the official founding of HWA in 1969 by a group of 23 persons, promotion of self-help and provision of mutual support amongst the disabled in Singapore has led to a 39 year-long commitment to meet the increasing and changing needs of its current 1,800 members. Through the generous financial contributions of a few notable donors, namely, the Chen Su Lan Trust and Shaw Foundation, the quality of life of the members have significantly improved. As a token of appreciation, they were presented with plagues during the charity dinner.
The evening hit a high note with the Wheelchair Dance Extravaganza, which incorporated able-bodied and wheelchair dancers in jazz and contemporary dance styles, in a beautiful collaboration. As part of the personal development program, such wheelchair bound activities serve as a platform to showcase and profile disability arts, “sharing with the public what we can do.” Indeed, a sentiment that is strongly expressed by the president and its members.
|PHOTOS: Edmund Ong|
With the opening of the association’s new Rehabilitation and Training Centre at Jurong Point Shopping Centre in January 2009, members and public living in the western region of Singapore have been enjoying the facilities and therapy services. Cassandra Gayle, who is the organization’s public relations executive, believes this latest initiative will not only help defray costs
for members by providing subsidies, but also help them to “integrate physically-challenged members into mainstream society.”
As the evening came to a close, one word summed it all up—quality.
The immense dedication to touch and improve the lives of people with disabilities certainly positions HWA as the epicenter of people-based community, and one with goals that is set to impact lives for many years to come.