Earlier this month, the Enabling Village celebrated its first anniversary in conjunction with the International Day of Persons with Disabilities.
Like all good birthday parties, we had plenty of food, fun and games, entertaining performances and a jolly-good bout of Christmas carolling. (All right, so that last item isn’t typical of birthdays. But surely you won’t begrudge us December babies an excuse to celebrate twice?)
Here’s the things you missed if you didn’t come.
1. Ball games that you’ve probably never tried before, booyah
Never tried Paralympics games like Boccia or Goalball in your life? That’s because you didn’t come for our anniversary.
Boccia (pronounced bo-cha) is a precision ball sport that involves throwing leather balls as close as one can to a white target ball; the aim of Goalball is for participants to throw a ball with embedded bells into the opponents’ goal.
Said Tan Yu Xun, 28, a first-time Boccia player, “Boccia is sort of like mahjong – easy to get into but hard to master. It’s great that more people are getting to know about this strategic and inclusive sport through today’s event.”
3. An art show put together by the Enabling Village’s youngest occupants
As usual, it’s the kids that enjoy carnivals the most. Through recycled materials, the preschoolers from AWWA Kindle Garden, Singapore’s first inclusive preschool, escaped into the world of children’s fables and storybooks with sparkling underwater creatures, a bear hiding in a cave and even a humongous, fearsome giant called the Abiyoyo. A fresh coat of paint sure makes a huge difference to unwanted cardboard boxes!
Dr Honey Ng, Assistant Director at AWWA said: “I think art teaches the children to accept each other’s differences. When they are creating the artworks together, there are no differences between them.”
3. Ukelele X Christmas carols
With catchy ukulele tunes and Christmas songs, volunteer performers from Stroke Support Station (S3) worked hard to usher in the festive spirit despite the monsoon weather. And the crowd responded enthusiastically by joining in the singing.
“We are glad that we could bring some music to such a meaningful event. It fosters a sense of closeness,” said Helen Yong, 64, a ukulele performer from Siglap South Community Centre.
Said Brittany Dejean, 30, Founder/Director of AbleThrive and frequent guest at the Enabling Village, said, “Inclusiveness is about making sure that people are genuinely integrated into society. All of us are different, whether or not we have a disability.”
4. More towels than you can swing (at Zachary the village cat)
A towel is about the most massively useful thing you can have, whether you’re hitchhiking or just in need of a low-impact workout. Sport Singapore led our invited seniors in the “ActiveSG Towel Workout” using, you guessed it, nothing but the humble towel in their hands. ESM Goh Chok Tong, who was the event’s guest-of-honour, joined in the fun as well.
No, we don’t need fancy gym equipment to get in shape.
5. Loot designed by talents with disabilities
Our senses got a treat with eye-catching decorative ornaments, hands-on crafting activities, and the aroma of freshly-brewed coffee. Everyone had something to eat, drink, try or learn.
“It is a celebration of our abilities and a validation that different abilities are okay because it means that people can appreciate us better,” said Lily Goh, 37, Director and Founder of ExtraOrdinary Horizons, a social enterprise run by the Deaf.
6. Launch of the new TODAY Enable Fund to foster inclusion
The highlight of the afternoon was the launch of the TODAY Enable Fund. It is a charity fund that aims to help nurture the hidden talents of persons with disabilities, realise their aspirations, and enhance their education, skills and employment opportunities. The Fund also aims to promote greater empathy and inclusion in the wider community.