Able or disabled, there's strength in unity

Lee Yan Ling (sitting, left), 14, a student from Rainbow Centre Margaret Drive School, and Loo Yang Rui Erik Lars (sitting, right), 17, a JC 1 student from Serangoon Junior College, rowing in the cutter sailboat on Wednesday as part of Outward Bound
Lee Yan Ling (sitting, left), 14, a student from Rainbow Centre Margaret Drive School, and Loo Yang Rui Erik Lars (sitting, right), 17, a JC 1 student from Serangoon Junior College, rowing in the cutter sailboat on Wednesday as part of Outward Bound Singapore's (OBS) third outdoor adventure programme involving able-bodied and special needs youth to promote inclusion. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

Lee Yan Ling, 14, a student from Rainbow Centre Margaret Drive School, and Loo Yang Rui Erik Lars, 17, a JC 1 student from Serangoon Junior College, rowing in the cutter sailboat on Wednesday as part of Outward Bound Singapore's (OBS) third outdoor adventure programme involving able-bodied and special needs youth to promote inclusion.

Ten National Youth Council alumni, seven students from Serangoon JC, four students from Grace Orchard School and three students from Rainbow Centre Margaret Drive School are on a five-day sailing expedition, while learning to work together and embrace one another's differences.

The programme ends today. Grace Orchard School caters to students with mild intellectual disabilities, while Rainbow Centre serves children and youth with a range of developmental disabilities.

Prior to the programme, there were three preparatory sessions, which included an icebreaker at Rainbow Centre Margaret Drive School, a location familiarisation at OBS campus and simple water activities to build the confidence of participants.

During the course, besides being taught the skill of sailing, participants are also coached on how to pitch tents and cook outdoors.

On the last day, the participants have a half-day programme of games and an Ubin nature walk for the Singapore Cheshire Home residents who are wheelchair users.

This is to show anyone can serve the community, regardless of his own disabilities.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 18, 2016, with the headline 'Able or disabled, there's strength in unity'. Print Edition | Subscribe