Asia Pacific Breweries Basis offers out scholarships to six folks with disabilities, Parenting & Schooling Information & Prime Tales
SINGAPORE – Mr. Nirat Singh Rajpal dreamed of inventing headphones for others like him who suffer from hearing loss.
When he found out that such headphones already existed, Mr. Nirat founded an organization in Vietnam at the age of 16 to help students with the same disease.
The Singaporean, who grew up in Vietnam, has usurped some friends and raised nearly $ 7,000 to give to low-income deaf students things like headphones, MP4 players and English audio books.
He said, “I found it annoying to take off my hearing aid and turn my earbuds to the loudest volume when listening to music. So I thought, why not have headphones for people with hearing loss?”
He founded Hearing Vietnam after discovering that bone conduction headphones were being invented for people with partial hearing loss.
So far it has helped three schools for the deaf in Ho Chi Minh City.
Mr. Nirat, 21, is now studying economics at the National University of Singapore.
He is one of six recipients of the Asia Pacific Breweries (APB) Foundation Scholarship for People with Disabilities.
As of 2004, 52 fellows have received more than $ 2 million from the APB-funded foundation. This includes Ms. Yip Pin Xiu and Mr. Toh Wei Soong, who participated in this year’s Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
The scholarships are open to students with physical, sensory, or developmental disabilities who have outstanding academic performance and who have demonstrated strong leadership roles in the community.
At the scholarship ceremony last Thursday (Oct. 7), Minister of State for Education Sun Xueling said the Ministry of Education (MOE) has made more efforts over the years to make education more inclusive for people with special needs.
Since 2019, children with moderate to severe special educational needs – who were previously exempt from compulsory schooling – have had to attend one of the 20 state-funded special schools.
In her speech, Ms. Sun said that schools in Singapore have established or improved facilities, staff and services to support these children.
Students can also receive funding from MOE and SG Enable, an agency that provides services for the disabled. The money can be used to get assistive technology and support services like note taking, she added.
Ms. Sun Xueling speaks at the APB Foundation Scholarship for Persons with Disabilities awards ceremony on October 7, 2021. ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG
Ms. Sun said, “Despite the support we have already received, we know that success is not easy for many students with disabilities. But it is precisely through their successes that we learn that nothing is impossible. “
Mr Nirat said the scholarship helped him with education expenses when his family’s business was badly hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Another recipient of the APB Foundation scholarship is Ms. Kimberly Quek, 21, who won Singapore’s first bronze medal at the 2017 Deaflympics.
Ms. Quek, now in her first year at Yale-NUS College, was diagnosed with a condition known as profound bilateral hearing loss when she was 18 months old.
The former sports student at the Singapore Sports School has represented Singapore and her school in two world championships, 10 international and 18 national competitions.
Ms. Kimberly Quek won Singapore’s first bronze medal at the 2017 Deaflympics. ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG
Ms. Quek said she hoped her accomplishments will encourage people to believe that some of the most difficult things can be achieved with diligence and determination.
She also said she wanted to raise awareness of the inconvenience Covid-19 restrictions bring to deaf people.
For example, masks and social distancing have made it difficult for her to understand what people are saying because she relies on lip reading, she said.
Ms. Quek said, “I want to encourage people to be patient and write down what they want to say or use a clear mask when they meet a deaf person.”