Ubin getaway for wheelchair users

Island tour by initiative aiming to raise awareness about accessibility
Rahimah Rashith Straits Times 7 Mar 18;

After a stroke limited movement on the left side of Mr Jurani Basri's body, the 22-year-old gave up playing football with his friends and would rarely go far from his home in Sengkang.

But last Friday, he journeyed as far as Pulau Ubin, with 119 other wheelchair users, their caregivers and volunteer chaperones. It was made possible by community initiative Wheels@Ubin (W@U), which aims to raise awareness about accessibility in Singapore.

Many of the wheelchair users and the disabled were on the island for the first time.

This is the second W@U event. The first, in 2015, enabled wheelchair users to celebrate Singapore's 50th birthday on the island.

Accompanying the group for a tour of Ubin island were W@U co-founder Dennis Quek, 55, and Minister for Social and Family Development Desmond Lee.

Said Mr Lee: "Wheels@Ubin demonstrates how the community can partner the Government and private organisations to build an inclusive society.

"This is a key thrust of the third Enabling Masterplan, and we will continue to work with the community to make our spaces accessible and inclusive."

The third Enabling Masterplan is a national road map that guides initiatives to better coordinate services for the disability sector, from last year till 2021.

Mr Lee, who is also the Second Minister for National Development, urged more people to step forward and make more shared spaces accessible to all, including the elderly and people with disabilities.

Besides touring the island, the participants watched musical performances by students of Republic and Ngee Ann polytechnics, as well as visited the Singapore Navy's museum in Changi Naval Base.

Mr Quek said that the activities are a reminder "to our wheelchair-bound friends and able-bodied people that being disabled is not being 'un-abled' ".

SMRT taxis also played a part in the Friday excursion, ferrying 115 people in the group from their homes to Changi Sailing Club, where they boarded the navy's utility craft.

Said Mr Jurani: "(The trip) allowed me to go out and make friends, and take my mind off my disability."

No comments:

Post a Comment