More than $10m raised by President's Challenge

President Tan and Mrs Tan (in purple dress) with guests at the President's Challenge 2016 Appreciation Night at the Istana, held to thank sponsors, donors and volunteers for their contributions.
President Tan and Mrs Tan (in purple dress) with guests at the President's Challenge 2016 Appreciation Night at the Istana, held to thank sponsors, donors and volunteers for their contributions.ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

Just when it looked like life couldn't get any harder after struggles with diabetes, amputation of his left foot and a heart transplant, Mr Isaac Kalaiselvan lost his job. It happened after the shipping firm which employed him put up the shutters in 2007 and left the now 55-year-old former accounts assistant struggling to find work for over five years.

However, thanks to a project to help those like him by Abilities Beyond Limitations and Expectations (Able) - a beneficiary of the President's Challenge - Mr Kalaiselvan secured a job at Able's Social Enterprise Accounting Services.

Mr Kalaiselvan, who needs assistance to walk, has been working for the social enterprise for 11/2 years. "I'm very happy to be able to work again and I want to ask more organisations to employ those who are physically disabled," he said, also crediting the support from his wife and two children.

Yesterday, 64 sponsors, donors and volunteers were recognised for their contributions at the President's Challenge 2016 Appreciation Night, held at the Istana.

"The President's Challenge provides those who are less fortunate with social support, skills and confidence so that they can lead dignified and meaningful lives," said President Tony Tan Keng Yam at the Challenge's closing event.

"We hope to bring everyone together in building a cohesive and caring society in Singapore," added Dr Tan.

The annual series of fund-raising and volunteer activities helped to raise more than $10 million for 58 beneficiaries selected by the President's Office this year.

A portion of the money raised was channelled to the Silver Volunteer Fund, which aims to encourage seniors to volunteer.

The President's Challenge has raised more than $167 million for its beneficiaries since it was initiated by the late former president S R Nathan in 2000.

Dr Tan expanded the Challenge in 2012 to include volunteerism and social entrepreneurship.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 24, 2016, with the headline 'More than $10m raised by President's Challenge'. Print Edition | Subscribe