23 young people with special needs honoured for their grit

(From left) Mr Noor Iskandaria Mohd Dena, Associate Professor Muhammad Faisal Ibrahim and Mr Pranav C. Balu at the Lifelong Learning Institute. Mr Iskandaria and Mr Pranav both received awards yesterday.
(From left) Mr Noor Iskandaria Mohd Dena, Associate Professor Muhammad Faisal Ibrahim and Mr Pranav C. Balu at the Lifelong Learning Institute. Mr Iskandaria and Mr Pranav both received awards yesterday.

Mr Noor Iskandaria Mohd Dena thought he had lost all chance of winning the Asean Para Games' 24.6km handcycling race last year after he crashed his bike and punctured a tyre just 2km before the finish line.

Despite the setback, the 22-year-old, who suffers from a form of cerebral palsy, refused to give up.

"All I was thinking of was to finish the race," said the PSB Academy student, who came in third in the race.

Mr Iskandaria was yesterday commended for his pluck and tenacity, and received the Persistent Perseverance Award from the Awwa Community Integration Service (CIS).

He was one of 23 young award recipients recognised for their strength in overcoming challenges despite their special needs.

The CIS programme, established in 1991, helps children and young people with disabilities integrate into mainstream schools, tertiary institutions and their communities.

The programme serves those who have physical disabilities, speech disorders, global developmental delay, developmental coordination disorder and low vision.

WORK FOR WHAT YOU WANT

If you want to achieve something, you need to put aside personal issues and excuses that stem from your physical limitations... and work hard for what you want to achieve.

INSTITUTE OF TECHNICAL EDUCATION STUDENT PRANAV C. BALU, on his experience in training to earn a spot in the Singapore Cerebral Palsy Football Team.

The award ceremony was held at the Lifelong Learning Institute in Eunos and attended by 280 people.

The guest of honour, Associate Professor Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim, who is Senior Parliamentary Secretary for the Education and Social and Family Development ministries, praised the awardees for their resilience.

He also acknowledged the efforts of the recipients' caregivers and other social service professionals.

"Your dedication has empowered them to be independent and demonstrated to society how we can look beyond their disabilities and celebrate their abilities instead."

Several organisations, schools and educators were also given awards for their efforts in integrating students with special needs.

Another award recipient, Institute of Technical Education student Pranav C. Balu, 18, trained hard to earn a spot as a striker in the Singapore Cerebral Palsy Football Team.

He said: "If you want to achieve something, you need to put aside personal issues and excuses that stem from your physical limitations... and work hard for what you want to achieve."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on February 25, 2018, with the headline '23 young people with special needs honoured for their grit'. Print Edition | Subscribe