SINGAPORE - The inaugural Haw Par Para Sports Bursary Awards was launched at the National Youth Sports Institute Satellite on Monday (Oct 22) in a boost for the local disability sporting scene.
Education Minister Ong Ye Kung and Haw Par Corporation CEO Wee Ee Lim graced the award ceremony as $42,600 was given out to 29 beneficiaries.
Each athlete received between $900 and $1,800, depending on their occupation, household income, support needs, current performance and reasons for application, for the support of their sporting pursuits.
Wee said: "The athletes are models of resilience for our society and are deserving of support. Through sponsoring the para sports bursary, Haw Par hopes to give para athletes a leg up in their pursuit of sports excellence, and enable more persons with disabilities (PWD) to take up para sports."
Singapore Disability Sports Council executive director Kelly Fan added: "For PWD, financial well-being is a key crippling factor.
"We've met parents struggling with single income, when one parent has to take care of a child with disability full-time. How would we dare ask the parents to let their child take part in sports, when they cannot afford the money for basic transportation and meals?
"We've met PWD who shun sports, because they were chided by family, employers for daring to spend time to pursue interests, when employment was already hard for them.
"Haw Par's support for this bursary thus sends an important message: that disability should never disqualify someone from being active.
"It's a foundation we hope to build on, and help more PWD access and excel through sports."