President Halimah visits ABLE to get first-hand account of their activities

Audrey Lee

President Halimah Yacob, who toured the ABLE centre in Toa Payoh, commended the efforts made to help people with disabilities to re-enter the workforce.

During her visit on May 28, the President saw first-hand how the centre – Abilities Beyond Limitations and Expectations (ABLE) – has been reaching out to persons from all walks of life, to enable persons with disabilities to live with dignity.

At a door-stop interview, she urged employers to have progressive employment practices so that they can provide a supportive environment to persons with disabilities. She also urged employers to do their part and “be more receptive of persons with disabilities to work and earn a living and have self-esteem”.

In the words of the centre’s Chairman, Ms Serena Ho, “Loving your neighbour as yourself” is like the mantra of ABLE. ABLE is guided by its Catholic ethos and it aims to be Christ-like in its approach, to make a difference and touch the lives of the persons that the centre’s staff and volunteers come into contact with.

President Halimah mingled with the Centre’s care recipients and saw the range of rehabilitation services being provided to individuals with acquired physical disabilities or congenital conditions.

She saw how the staff and volunteers helped the care recipients in various activities such as physiotherapy for those who have sustained injuries that impede their mobility as well as speech therapy lessons.

The President also spoke with a stroke patient, Mr Ng Beng Chai, 59, who has been attending the speech therapy sessions at ABLE for over a year. After he suffered from a stroke in February last year, Mr Ng had severe aphasia, a condition that causes speech impairment. Mr Ng, who previously worked as a heavy vehicle driver, is learning to regain his articulation. The centre is currently helping Mr Ng to find employment.

During the visit, President Halimah was also treated to a heart-warming song performance put up by a group of seven care recipients from the Music Therapy group.

“I came to ABLE more than two years ago as I had a stroke. Music therapy can really soothe your stress and anxiety. It can also help to improve my speech. After music therapy, I can communicate better with my husband and son.”
said Mdm Soh, a care recipient.

Ms Serena Ho said, “The President’s visit to our centre raises awareness that employers have to be more open to employing the physically challenged. With employment, our physically challenged brothers and sisters will be empowered to live productive, meaningful and independent lives” said Ms Ho.

Care recipients from the Music Therapy group with President Halimah.

Return to Work (RTW) is a key programme that supports clients aged between 18 and 67, to bring about opportunities for them, to achieve suitable and sustainable employment. ABLE also provides employment opportunities for some of its care recipients who are hired in various capacities in the centre. The Centre conducts courses for its care recipients on various topics like resumé writing and how to prepare for job interviews.

Additionally, the Centre provides respite services to support family caregivers and their physically challenged care recipients through a family-centric approach. Home-based respite in the form of nursing care for care recipients in terms of their daily living needs at home are provided.

The centre’s activities range from mental wellness talks, make-up lessons to baking classes. The objective is for both the beneficiaries and care givers to have a safe and conducive sanctuary where they can unwind and mingle with each other.

Ms Ho said they have been grateful for how God has always provided in many aspects including the provision of volunteers with the relevant expertise, to help out at the centre. She also shared that since its inception, the Centre has seen some of its volunteers embrace the Catholic faith, as they journeyed with the Centre’s staff to
reach out to its care recipients.

ABLE was incorporated on Oct 25, 2010 and is a member organisation of Caritas Singapore, the official social and community arm of the Catholic Church in Singapore and a member of NCSS. The centre is also currently a beneficiary under the President’s Challenge. For more information on the centre, you can access the website at email : www.able-sg.org. If you would like to volunteer as a befriender or assist with the Centre’s various activities, you can drop an email at: [email protected]

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