ANN/STRAITS TIMES – Shaping a fairer and more inclusive society will require every Singaporean to be agents of change, with firms adopting more inclusive employment practices and community groups working closely with the government to provide support on the ground.
Speaking yesterday at the 11th edition of the Purple Parade, a movement to support the inclusion of people with disabilities (PWDs) and celebrate their abilities, Singaporean Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong said there are clear milestones and targets under the Enabling Masterplan 2030.
They include raising the employment rate of PWDs aged 15 to 64 from about 30 per cent between 2020 and 2021 to 40 per cent by 2030, and building five new special education schools on top of the current 22.
Wong also highlighted the Forward Singapore report – the fourth-generation leadership’s national strategy for a more vibrant and inclusive Singapore.
Among other things, the 180-page report, unveiled in October, includes policy moves to help PWDs, such as rolling out a new course to equip general practitioners to care for those with intellectual disabilities. “The government will take the lead in all of these endeavours. But we also need all of you, every Singaporean, to do their part… to show more acceptance and kindness to our fellow Singaporeans, especially those whose needs are unique and different from us,” said Wong.
This year’s parade, held at Suntec City, saw a record turnout of over 13,000 people, most of whom were wearing purple shirts, with the outdoor area around the Fountain of Wealth awash in a sea of purple.
Wong lauded the organisers of the Purple Parade movement for their efforts in growing the cause – from having just over 3,000 participants in 2013 to more than fourfold the number in 2023.
The Purple Parade is a ground-up movement comprising those with and without disabilities, caregivers, disability organisations, business corporations, public agencies and volunteers.
Addressing the crowd, national para-swimmer Yip Pin Xiu, said: “Let’s all help to raise awareness together and celebrate the diversity of our community as a way of life and not just this weekend.”