It was her vivid personal experience with her cousin that inspired Joey Chua to come up with the idea that will ultimately conceive a campaign to encourage more
persons with disabilities (PWD) to take up sports.
The Nanyang Technological University student had seen for herself what sports could do to benefit the lives of PWDs, both physically and mentally, and so she along with her classmates, launched a campaign titled “Project This Ability” in January this year as part of their Final Year Project.
Student volunteers with participants during the Project This Ability event at the Enabling Village. Photo: Sport Singapore
“Project This Ability is actually very personal to me, especially because my cousin whom I grew up with, was born with dwarfism,” the 23-year-old communications student said.
“As a person, he’s just very shy and didn't really have a lot of confidence. And that’s because from the start, he wasn't really exposed to other people with disabilities, and also never came to terms with his disabilities.”
“He did do powerlifting, then we saw the difference it made in him. Because he had an interest in something and got a bit more confident, and there were things he would start doing.”
For Joey, the changes in her cousin were small but significant. From being someone who wasn’t comfortable stepping out of the house, he gained more self-confidence over time, and even found himself a job eventually.
“When you look at the athletes, their outlook in life is just so different. They are so much more positive, they are happier, because they found that ability in them,” she said.
Minister Grace Fu (first from right) with student organiser Samantha Tan during the Project This Ability event, with ActiveSG Chief Lai Chin Kwang and Sport Singapore CEO Lim Teck Yin looking on. Photo: Sport Singapore
“A lot of them, like my cousin, focus a lot on their disability. When you start doing sports, you think about the things you can do and that’s when things start changing and you have a more positive outlook.”
According to the Disability Sports Master Plan, only one in three PWDs do sports at least once a week. To address this issue, the student organisers took a multi-pronged approach to achieve their objectives of promoting para sports among PWDs.
They created a sporty version of the International Symbol of Access that was placed at 21 MRT stations and 26 sports centres across the island.
They produced a micro-film that reinforces their message that participating in sports can help PWDs widen their social circles and make friends.
And most importantly, they created a one-stop information portal that can provide PWDs with all they need to know about the various para sports, as well as the training and try-out schedules.
Minister Grace Fu (first from left) interacting with student organisers during the Project This Ability event at the Enabling Village. Photo: Sport Singapore
Project This Ability culminated in a Para Sports Day on Saturday at the Enabling Village, which was attended by 230 PWDs and caretakers from various organisations and graced by Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, Grace Fu.