On 10 February, we checked out A Good Day Out, a carnival at Gardens by the Bay organised by the Tote Board to commemorate their 30th anniversary. It was a rocking good time: performances by Joanna Dong and the Sam Willows, hands-on disability awareness workshops, carnival staples like balloon sculpting and hand painting, and of course, fairground food.
We’re sorry if you missed it.
But we did pick out some highlights from the event that you can check out or continue look out for, even though the event’s over.
1. Vegetables grown in the city
Do you buy vegetables from your neighbourhood wet market? The supermarket? Or do you buy them online and have them delivered to your door?
Have you considered choosing vegetables that are grown in Singapore, grown by a company that hires staff with special needs?
Darren Ho, founder of Citizen Farm, believes there is a big disconnect between people and their food: the production process, as well the people involved in that process. The ex-banker aims to fill this gap through his urban farm located at Jalan Penjara, near Dempsey Hill. (Citizen Farm is an offshoot of Edible Garden City, which we previously featured.)
Citizen Farm employs people from all walks of life, including those with disabilities and special needs. It has partnered with Autism Resource Centre and Down Syndrome Association to train and hire graduates from their school.
For Darren, he said that the most meaningful part of the job is when part-time employees are converted to full-time employees. He has witnessed how his staff come out of their shell and become more proactive, outgoing, and confident. Ultimately, Darren aims to other marginalised communities, such as people with other special needs, ex-convicts, and seniors.
2. Sports for people with disabilities
Did you know that ActiveSG, which runs the largest network of fitness centres in Singapore, supports several sports for people with disabilities? The para sports it supports include cerebral palsy football, bocci, and football five-a-side.
At the ActiveSG booth, we saw three activities for participants with disabilities and able-bodied people who wished to try para sports for themselves. They were Wheelchair Basketball, a short-distance blind(-folded) run and the Blind Penalty Shootout.
If you want to sign up for ActiveSG’s regular para sports programmes, visit the ActiveSG website and check out what’s available.
3. Toys adapted for use with children with special needs
Many toys that we see in the market cannot be played by children who have physical disabilities. This does not mean, however, that they can’t be modified so that they are more accessible.
Enter Engineering Good, a non-profit organisation that aims to empower disadvantaged communities through engineering.
At their booth, Engineering Good showcased toys and stationery that have been modified with fixtures and assistive switches so that children who limited motor skills or physical movement can still use them. They also showcased a toy designed to teach about the concept of magnetism.
Engineering Good partners with welfare organisations such as Rainbow Centre, Cerebral Palsy Alliance Singapore, and AWWA to run several through assistive technology programmes. If you wish to volunteer with Engineering Good to create adapted toys, or learn to modify toys for use at home, visit the Engineering Good website.
4. Unique handicrafts exclusive to carnivals and charity events
Every day from Monday to Thursday, the Down Syndrome Association conducts arts and craft lessons for their beneficiaries. Based on their strengths and interest, the students hand-craft keychains, bracelets, coasters, or tea light candle holders.
These were the hand-crafted ornaments that we saw on sale at the Down Syndrome Association booth at the carnival.
The Down Syndrome Association started in 1996 when a group of parents with Down Syndrome children saw that there was a lack of awareness and support for people with Down Syndrome and their families. Today, the association helps people with Down Syndrome to lead richer lives, and engaging clients in artisan crafts is one of the ways it does so.
The handicrafts are available for sale only at carnivals, gala dinners, and during the World Down Syndrome Day—which is just next month! Look out for their beautifully designed handicrafts the next time you attend a public charity event.