SINGAPORE - An annual fund-raiser for the less fortunate, led by Singapore's President, will focus on helping people with disabilities in 2020.
President Halimah Yacob, in announcing the mission on Wednesday (July 31), said it was important to help the group gain self confidence, self-esteem, and particularly, a sense of independence.
"We would like to also encourage lots of inclusive hiring practices," she added.
Citing a 2016 survey by the National Council of Social Service, she noted that six in 10 people with disabilities do not feel they are socially included.
"Those who are not working are worse off because their quality of life is lower," she said.
President Halimah hopes the campaign will receive innovative and creative proposals, and help "ensure we provide the training and also job placement opportunities for people with disabilities".
She was speaking on the sidelines of the launch of Arts in the City: We Love SINGApore, an exhibition at Raffles City shopping mall commemorating the Singapore Bicentennial year and celebrating the country's 54th birthday, which falls on Aug 9.
The exhibition, a collaboration between giant real estate company CapitaLand and the Singapore Kindness Movement, features 200 figurines of Singa the lion, an iconic mascot here for kindness and graciousness. Each Singa is 40cm tall.
Various well-known faces gave their visual take of Singapore.
President Halimah unveiled a pair she and her husband Mohamed Abdullah Alhabshee designed, showing a young Singa wearing a school uniform and carrying a backpack, and an older Singa, who wears glasses and holds an iPad, signifying he is tech-savvy.
Celebrities who also contributed included actress Fann Wong and singer Taufik Batisah, as well as representatives from companies and organisations such as barbecued meat producer Bee Cheng Hiang as well as the Indian Heritage Centre.
The figurines reflect their experiences of Singapore and what kindness means to them.
The three Singa designers from the Alzheimer's Disease Association included 80-year-old Margaret Tan, who goes to its New Horizon Centre in Toa Payoh.
She said: "We painted the lion's head and legs yellow and then added a hat and vest to represent Phua Chu Kang from the TV programme. I loved the show so much, I can still remember it."
Phua Chu Kang was a well-loved Singaporean sitcom about an eccentric contractor with his trademark yellow boots. It ran from 1997 to 2007.
Pathlight School student Grace Ong, 18, covered her lion with drawings of hands, ice creams and flowers.
Her inspiration was the Singapore Kindness Movement, which "encourages us to lend a hand to people around us".
About 100 mini versions of Singa, done by people from the Alzheimer's Disease Association and social service organisation Awwa are also on display at the exhibition on the first floor of the shopping mall, from Aug 1 to 28. Admission is free.
The bigger Singa figures can be adopted at a minimum of $88 at the end of the exhibition, with the proceeds going to the President's Challenge.
At the launch on Wednesday, CapitaLand Hope Foundation, the philanthropic arm of CapitaLand, pledged to donate $300,000 to six charities under this year's President's Challenge, which focuses on people with mental health issues.
Correction note: This article has been updated for accuracy.