Teens with special needs raise $50k - with 2 chairs

Rainbow Centre students Danial Isaac (at left) and Noah Tan with their chairs at Ion Orchard yesterday. The chairs, painted by them, were auctioned for nearly $50,000, and the funds will go towards a new wing at the special needs school's Margaret Dr
Rainbow Centre students Danial Isaac (left) and Noah Tan with their chairs at Ion Orchard yesterday. The chairs, painted by them, were auctioned for nearly $50,000, and the funds will go towards a new wing at the special needs school's Margaret Drive campus.ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

Two chairs painted by youths with special needs were auctioned for nearly $50,000 yesterday.

Painted by Rainbow Centre students Noah Tan and Danial Isaac, the chairs were put up for a silent auction at Ion Orchard yesterday with a starting bid of $20,000 each.

In all, there are 55 child-sized Louis-style chairs decorated by students from the centre in collaboration with artists. The chairs are on display until Dec 15 at level 3 of the mall, on a rotational basis.

All chairs can be purchased for $8,000 and above. Proceeds will go to the centre, a voluntary welfare organisation that serves about 1,200 students at its two special needs schools in Margaret Drive and Yishun Park.

The centre is raising funds for a new wing at its Margaret Drive campus, which is co-funded by the Government and due to be completed in the second half of next year at an estimated cost of $17 million.

Fifteen-year-old Noah, who has mild to moderate autism, painted a version of a portrait that previously won special mention at the 2014 Singapore Youth Festival art exhibition.

His chair, titled The Face & I, features his favourite colours and shapes, said his mother Rosyniah Wang, 49, a housewife. "It took a month to complete, and he put in a lot of effort. He would wake up in the morning at 8am, break for meals and then work until evening time."

Danial, who has cerebral palsy, took two months to complete his chair, titled Heart of Freedom, which he said represents his challenging journey as well as his mother's support.

"It is about how my family takes care of me and teaches me about life," said the 16-year-old.

At the auction yesterday, Temasek Holdings chief executive Ho Ching helped the two teens put the finishing touches on their chairs.

Tiffany Fumiko Tay

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 09, 2016, with the headline 'Teens with special needs raise $50k - with 2 chairs'. Print Edition | Subscribe