SPECtacular initiative makes a clear difference

MP Christopher de Souza, accompanied by Project We Care chairman Wee Wei Ling, presenting a pair of spectacles to a resident.
MP Christopher de Souza, accompanied by Project We Care chairman Wee Wei Ling, presenting a pair of spectacles to a resident.PHOTO: PEOPLE'S ASSOCIATION

Madam Rosie Boey, 80, received a brand new pair of gold-rimmed spectacles, which she picked herself. And she got it in time to watch the National Day Parade on TV at her home in Ulu Pandan.

"My eyesight was deteriorating, but I didn't go for eye checks because it was too expensive... spectacles were a luxury."

She was one of the 200 residents from Holland-Bukit Timah GRC and Bukit Panjang SMC, aged 55 to 90, who participated in a roving eye-care initiative to help low-income residents around Singapore.

The SPECtacular Experience initiative is organised by the People's Association (PA) in collaboration with 10 partners in a network called Project We Care, which includes healthcare organisations, opticians and polytechnics. It provides free eye care products and services such as eye screening, eyewear and talks by experts. Even free cataract treatment is available, subject to prior assessment.

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Three previous instalments of the initiative, which started in 2015, had benefited more than 1,000 residents in Sembawang, Tampines and Tanjong Pagar. The time and place of each instalment are determined based on needs identified by grassroots leaders when they visit residents, said PA.

The initiative also expanded into dental care for the first time yesterday, with 50 elderly residents given complimentary dental care such as screening, scaling and polishing at selected dental outlets.

MP Christopher de Souza, who is adviser to Holland-Bukit Timah grassroots organisations, said the communities have benefited from the collaboration between the constituencies and partners from both public and private sectors.

Project We Care chairman Wee Wei Ling said: "The initiative is a good example of how private sector companies come together, and leverage on each other's resources and expertise to enhance a meaningful programme to benefit the community." Ms Wee recounted a past case where the sole breadwinner of a family was able to work after her cataracts were treated through the initiative.

The initiative will be launched next at Jalan Besar GRC.

Lin Yangchen

Correction note: In our earlier story, we said the SPECtacular Experience initiative started in 2014. It should be 2015. We are sorry for the error.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 10, 2017, with the headline 'SPECtacular initiative makes a clear difference'. Print Edition | Subscribe