SINGAPORE: A S$5 million campaign to change mindsets towards persons with disabilities (PWD) was launched on Thursday (Jun 2) by the National Council of Social Service (NCSS) and the Tote Board.
Called "See The True Me", the five-year public education programme will include advertising campaigns, disability awareness talks for the public, and a dedicated website that will show stories of PWDs and resources on how to be inclusive.
The campaign was started off with a series of surveys and focus group discussion carried out in 2015 by NCSS.
During an attitude study with 1,400 citizens and permanent residents, NCSS found that more than a third would not employ persons with disabilities.
The study showed that respondents displayed larger social distance toward persons with autism and intellectual impairment, especially in the employment sector, while attitudes were most favourable toward persons with sensory impairment, followed by persons with physical impairment.
NCSS also surveyed nearly 1,000 PWDs, and found that 57 per cent felt they did not have autonomy, and 63 per cent felt they were not able to participate in social activities.
In later focus group discussions of some 100 persons with disabilities, they said the public viewed their disabilities as limitations, which built a barrier that prevented them from socialising and gaining employment.
At the launch of the campaign, Social and Family Development Minister Tan Chuan-Jin said in his opening remarks that creating an inclusive society is a national effort, and could not be solved just by building accessible facilities.
"Having accessible facilities is just one aspect of fostering an inclusive and caring society. Beyond the physical hardware and infrastructure, what is even more important is to raise awareness within the wider community on disability issues, and to nurture the right attitudes when interacting with persons with disabilities amongst us," Mr Tan said.