All can support independence of people with disabilities

The National Council of Social Service promotes the vision of an inclusive society, where every person with disability can maximise his potential and is embraced as an integral member of the community.

Singapore signed and ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2012 and 2013 respectively.

The signing of the convention was made possible with the Enabling Masterplan, developed by the people, public and private sectors.

One of the guiding principles of the masterplan is recognising the autonomy and independence of people with disabilities.

Accessible environments empower people with disabilities to go about their daily lives with greater ease. Those who require mobility aids, such as wheelchairs, face barriers while commuting, one of which is getting in and out of vehicles in parking spaces ("Fines up for disabled parking misuse"; Monday).

Accessible parking spots provide more space for movement in and out of vehicles, and, thus, are reserved only for people with physical disabilities.

Some drivers may not be aware that they are severely inconveniencing people with physical disabilities when they take up these parking spaces.

As part of our public education efforts, a campaign, fronted together with multi-agency partners, was rolled out to educate the public on accessible parking spaces.

We seek to remind drivers to be gracious by not parking in accessible parking spaces, as they are for people within our community who truly need them - those with disabilities.

We will continue such efforts to improve knowledge and attitudes towards people with disabilities.

We believe that the actions of the majority of our community are well intended and inclusive.

Our efforts to enhance awareness and attitudes towards people with disabilities will continue as we strive to become a caring and inclusive nation.

When the opportunity presents itself, we can all exercise thoughtfulness in our daily activities and interaction towards people with disabilities.

To find out more about understanding the needs of people with disabilities, members of the public can read our booklet, Removing Barriers, on http://ncss.gov.sg/sociallyenable

Tina Hung (Ms)
Deputy Chief Executive Officer and Group Director, Service Planning and Development & Advocacy and Membership
National Council of Social Service

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 21, 2016, with the headline 'All can support independence of people with disabilities'. Print Edition | Subscribe