Volunteer and wheelchair users participating in the Bizad Charity Run 2013
Volunteer and wheelchair users participating in the Bizad Charity Run 2013
Photo: Society for the Physically Disabled

In November 2012, Singapore became a state party to the United Nations Convention for the Rights for Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD). This represented the governments’ commitment to making Singapore an inclusive society for persons with disabilities. While the signing of the convention was certainly a momentous occasion in the disability circle, there was little public reaction to the event.

As with many other Asian cultures, person with disabilities in Singapore have historically been cared for by their families and protected from the eyes of the public. This led to misconceptions or even ignorance on the nature of different disabilities.

While a survey in 2011 by the Society for the Physically Disabled showed that Singaporeans have become more understanding, supportive and accepting of people with disabilities, there remains a lag in public behaviours towards them.

In a interview with ‘On the Red Dot’, a current affairs programme on Channel 5, Ms Vanessa Yam who suffers from Muscular Dystrophy said, “ Singaporean are still afraid to lend a helping hand to people with disabilities.”

The UNCRPD requires state parties to ensure and promote the full realization of all human rights and fundamental freedoms for all persons with disabilities. However polices and legislation alone cannot make Singapore a truly inclusive society.  A change in attitudes and behaviours towards persons with disabilities will be the cornerstone for building an inclusive society.

In order for society to accept and include persons with disabilities, there is a need for greater awareness of disability in general as well as how we can interact with persons with disabilities appropriately.

This website will feature stories of how persons with disabilities in Singapore overcome barriers and continue to lead meaningful lives in Singapore. Through understanding more about disability, we can learn to share our ‘Lion City’ with every member of our community.