SINGAPORE - The Enabling Village, a common space for people with disabilities and the able-bodied, will hold an inaugural market fair for the public on April 23.
Called the Everyday Folk Market, it will be held on a quarterly basis in future.
For the first edition, SG Enable, an agency dedicated to enabling people with disabilities, is working together with The Local People, an art market organiser.
Over 50 booths will be set up from 4pm to 9pm, featuring works by artists and craftsmen.
There will also be live drawing performances by artists with disabilities and the art collective Band Of Doodlers.
During the recently concluded Budget debate, Nominated Member of Parliament Chia Yong Yong, a wheelchair user, said Singapore has become more inclusive.
In her speech on April 4, she asked for more "awareness of those with disabilities, including those not as noticeable".
The Enabling Village, which was launched on Dec 2, 2015, promotes inclusiveness, catering to a wider society.
It is a common space for people with disabilities and the able-bodied. Amenities include eateries that employ people with disabilities, a gym and a wheelchair-friendly supermarket.
Ms Ku Geok Boon is chief executive of SG Enable, an agency dedicated to enabling people with disabilities.
She told The Straits Times: "Through our accessible facilities and services, we hope to encourage interaction among people of all abilities and foster greater inclusion."
If you are planning to visit the Enabling Village at 20 Lengkok Bahru, here are a few things you can look forward to there.
1. The Art Faculty by Pathlight
What is special: Visitors can purchase T-shirts, bags and art prints from The Art Faculty shop run by the Autism Resource Centre at the Enabling Village. The merchandise produced is based on artwork created by student artists under the Pathlight Artist Development Programme.
This programme nurtures the artistic talents of students with autism under the mentorship of professional artists. Its artists receive royalties from the proceeds of the merchandise.
Grab your daily dose of caffeine at The Art Bar, a community project launched with coffee chain Starbucks Singapore.
The Art Bar trains young adults with autism to become baristas.
Visitors can try the Cafe Americano (from $2.90), Cafe Mocha (from $4) and Milo smoothie ($4.50). Small bites like cookies and muffins (from $2) are also available.
Open : The shop and Art Bar are open from 9am to 8pm (Mondays to Saturdays).
Info: For more queries, call 6513-0706
What you can do to help: Purchase the merchandise in person or buy online at http://www.emall.pathlight.org.sg/
2. Soul Food
What is special: The brainchild of Mr Gerald Png, Soul Food is a restaurant that serves home-styled modern European food. Mr Png, 57, started Soul Food to give young people with special needs the opportunity to be trained in various areas of F&B work. He hopes it will lead to employment and allow them to contribute to society.
In 2008, Soul Food opened to the public. Three Delta Senior School students, including Mr Png's daughter, were the first batch of trainees.
Over the years, Soul Food has gone from strength to strength. Some of the trainees have become full-time staff. There are now three full-time staff and four trainees at Soul Food.
All the training takes place on site, under Mr Png's supervision, a supervisor and another part-time trainer who has experience with people with special needs.
Trainees take a hands-on approach. They prepare the sauces, marinate the meat and even cook.
Visitors can enjoy European delights like Greek minestrone soup and tiramisu. Another dish to try is the sous vide angus beef short rib slow-cooked for 72 hours.
Every two days, the set lunch of the day ($25 to $30) changes.
Open: The restaurant is open 12pm to 2.30pm (Mondays to Fridays).
Weekday dinners and Saturdays are reserved for private functions.
Info: Visit https://www.facebook.com/Soul-Food-Enterprise-Pte-Ltd-286503891431586/info/?tab=page_info or call 9823-4455
What you can do to help: “As far as people with special needs are concerned, they are not a problem to be solved, but theirs is a journey to be understood. The public support will help us train and employ persons with special needs, to give them a future and a hope,” Mr Png said, remembering a quote he had heard before.
3. DIY Workshops
What is special: From now till April 30, visit the The Art Faculty at the Enabling Village and take part in DIY Workshops, open to the public.
People with special needs are welcome, as long as they are accompanied by a caregiver. Workshops include watercolour painting and polymer clay sculpture-making.
Ms Annabel Tan, a polymer clay artist, keeps her class sizes small, limited to eight participants per session. This allows her to pay more attention to participants with special needs.
Open: Below is a table of workshop timings.
Mini Felt Owl Toy (April 20, 6pm-8pm)
Floral Watercolour Workshop (April 16, 10am-1pm; 3pm-5pm)
Polymer Clay (April 16, 5.30am-7.30pm; April 21, 2pm-4pm; April 30, 5.30am-7.30pm)
Finger Puppets (April 30, 10am-1pm)
Info: Visit https://enablingvillage.sg/events
4. iFIT Gym
What is special: It is the first fitness centre to support people with disabilities to be work-ready, and also caters to both people with and without disabilities.
Gym machines come with removable seats, so that wheelchair users can use them too.
The Braille dots on the treadmill user panels help the visually impaired use the machines.
The gym features a "hearing induction loop" system. Instructions from gym trainers go directly to their hearing aids, so that the hearing-impaired can distinguish important information from background noise. The system is especially important during emergencies, so the staff can brief all gym users about safety procedures.
Instead of weights, the gym comes with eight special machines that use a pneumatic air system, reserved for senior citizens and people with special needs. Users increase the resistance by 100g each time, while normal gym machines typically increase weights by 2.5kg. Machines for knee, leg, abdomen, back and shoulder exercises are available.
Some gym trainers have undergone attachments with KK Women's and Children's Hospital and Changi General Hospital, to learn how to design exercises for people with special needs and the elderly respectively.
Open: The gym is open from 9.30am-9.30pm (Mondays to Fridays) and 9.30am-5pm (Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays).
Info: Visit www.ifit.com.sg, or call 6472-0698.
5. FairPrice supermarket
What is special: FairPrice, the chain of supermarkets, opened its first disabled-friendly and elderly-friendly supermarket in the Enabling Village.
Wheelchair users can use special trolleys attached to their wheelchairs. It is easier to move them together, rather than pushing a regular FairPrice wheelchair.
They can benefit from wider check-out lanes and customised refrigerators, which are more accessible.
Magnifying glasses are available at every aisle, for the visually impaired and elderly, to better read product labels.
Staff have been trained to recognise seniors with dementia and other ailments, and also to better understand the needs of seniors.
Open: 8am-9pm (daily).
Info: Call 9649-8378.
6. Mount Alvernia Outreach Medical Clinic
What is special: Fully-funded by Mount Alvernia Hospital, the clinic provides general practitioner services for the public. Patients can treat common ailments, like flu and diarrhoea and chronic conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes.
Members of Mount Alvernia Outreach Medical Clinic pay $5, inclusive of consultation fees and medication costs. The clinic's target group includes people with disabilities, former offenders, teenage mothers, victims of human trafficking, foreign workers who are not covered by company insurance and the vulnerable elderly.
The public is welcome too, but consultation rates then range from $20 to $40, not inclusive of medication costs.
Open: Mondays and Fridays (9am-1pm; 2pm-6pm). Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays (12pm-4pm; 5pm-9pm).
Info: Visit https://mtalvernia-hospital.org/ or call 6473-5100.