Scholarships for students who excelled in studies despite disabilities

Ms Teo Zi Lin, Ms Sarah Lim and Mr Joshua Ong received the Asia Pacific Breweries (APB) Foundation Scholarship for Persons with Disabilities on Thursday (Sept 22).
Ms Teo Zi Lin, Ms Sarah Lim and Mr Joshua Ong received the Asia Pacific Breweries (APB) Foundation Scholarship for Persons with Disabilities on Thursday (Sept 22).PHOTO: SPD

SINGAPORE - Three students with disabilities received scholarships on Thursday (Sept 22) to help fund their tertiary studies. They were recognised for their achievements in their studies and strong leadership abilities, despite having disabilities.

The winners - Ms Sarah Lim and Ms Teo Zi Lin, both 20; and Mr Joshua Ong, 21 - received the Asia Pacific Breweries (APB) Foundation Scholarship for Persons with Disabilities. Jurong GRC MP Ang Wei Neng presented them the awards at a ceremony at the Enabling Village in Lengkok Bahru on Thursday.

Each of them received an annual allowance of $12,000 in the bond-free scholarship. The scholarship programme is managed by SPD, an organisation that supports people with disabilities.

Ms Lim has dyslexia, motor coordination difficulties and Asperger's Syndrome. Ms Teo is deaf and has speech impediment. Mr Ong has juvenile open-angle glaucoma, which affects his vision.

Said Mr Ong, a second-year undergraduate at Nanyang Technological University: "Being awarded the scholarship is among my greatest achievements. I hope to make the most out of this privileged opportunity by giving back to the disability and visually impaired community, through advocating for more educational institutions to tailor-fit curriculums and make provisions for students with special needs."

Mr Frans Eusman, chairman of the board of trustees for the APB Foundation, praised the scholarship recipients. "The three new scholars have shown great tenacity and resilience to rise above their circumstances. I believe that they will be excellent role models and make meaningful contributions to society."

The foundation has supported 37 scholars and committed more than $1 million towards the scholarship programme since its launch in 2004. From this year, it will also extend more financial help to its scholars facing financial hardships. Under the new Special Assistance Fund, eligible scholarship recipients will receive $3,000 a year, in addition to their scholarship money.

At the awards ceremony, SPD also said it is developing a new youth mentorship programme for young people with disabilities, aged 17 to 35. It is also supported by the APB Foundation, and aims to equip young people with practical skills and seed-funding to give back to the society through community projects. It is expected to be launched by the year end.

SPD executive director Abhimanyau Pal said: "The APB Foundation has consistently believed in the potential of youths with differing abilities, by investing and nurturing them, as well as providing them with a platform for success. Beyond the scholarship programme, we are confident that our collaboration through the Youth Development Programme will enable us to do more to empower our youths."