Special Olympics Asia Pacific, together with partners, Singapore Red Cross and APSN Delta Senior School, launched Singapore’s first inclusive club for youth with and without intellectual disabilities (ID) on July 8.
More than 300 guests gathered to witness the symbolic ceremony to mark the enrolment of the club's pioneer batch of 15 youth members, aged 17 to 19. APSN is the Association for Persons with Special Needs.
Singapore’s Health Minister and former Red Cross Youth cadet Gan Kim Yong, who was the guest-of-honour at the launch event, described the initiative as the “epitome of social inclusiveness and cohesiveness.”
The club will equip members with first aid skills, by adapting the first aid curriculum for students with ID. In the next six months, club members will work with other Red Cross Youth members from Singapore and beyond, to plan unified activities for youth with and without ID – both sports and non-sports related.
The unified activities are conceptualized and funded by Special Olympics Asia Pacific through a $10,000 grant, to bring together people with and without ID.
“Promoting inclusiveness lies at the heart of all that we do at Special Olympics Asia Pacific,” said Ms Angelina Ong, a Special Olympics Asia Pacific board member. “Our aim is to build a unified generation of caring citizens who will become advocates for an inclusive society where everyone has equal opportunities to maximize his or her potential. We want to change society by changing attitudes and behaviors.”
Club member Andy Wee, 18, who has ID, said he looked forward to learning new skills and making new friends. Red Cross youth leader Mathilda Ho, 26, who does not have ID, added, “There should be more opportunities like this to allow young Singaporeans to work with people with ID. From them, I learn not to judge and to be accepting of others.”