SINGAPORE: The TODAY Enable Fund has raised S$265,000 for people with disabilities, organisers announced, following a charity dinner and auction at Grand Mercure Roxy Hotel on Tuesday evening (Feb 28).
Launched last December by local newspaper TODAY and Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong, the fund is meant empower people with physical disabilities by supporting their aspirations and funding transition-to-work programmes and by encouraging community integration efforts.
The goal is to raise at least S$500,000 by next January. Tuesday's event saw artwork by six artists with specials needs being auctioned off, along with personal items of Mr Goh.
At the dinner, Mr Goh emphasised the importance of "compassionate meritocracy", which champions educating and training a person to maximise his potential abilities.
"When we see disabled people, most of us see only their disabilities. We feel compassion for them, and that’s it," Mr Goh said. "But really, we should look beyond their disabilities and see the latent abilities in them, and help them to develop their talent to the fullest. We should give them a shot at life, like any other person."
ESM Goh with performers from Methodist Girls’ School (Primary) at the TODAY Enable Fund Lunar New Year Charity Dinner on Tuesday (Feb 28). (Photo: MCI)
"The idea of compassionate meritocracy is to try and bring as many people as possible to the same starting line to narrow the disadvantage in terms of resources,” he added. “And this is very important for those with disabilities and for those who acquire disabilities somewhere along their lives."
He also said the fund is not meant to “simply help people with disabilities out of a tight situation, or with their daily needs”.
“Those are areas where Government and other charitable organisations are doing a lot of work on,” Mr Goh said. “What the fund focuses on is giving more resources to people with disabilities, so that they too have a chance to use their abilities and talents to climb their own mountain.”
The TODAY Enable Fund will begin disbursing funds to beneficiaries in April.