Lessons from a unique ‘village’ on using innovation to support people with disabilities | So Good News


Every morning, 25-year-old Jernice Pang Gin Wei visits the Enabling Village, a community that welcomes people with disabilities in an inclusive environment.

Jernice, who has mild autism, has been working at the Community Employment and Employment Center (E2C) in Singapore since 2018, having previously worked at a special education school.

According to CEO of SG Enable Koo Geok Boon, he is among those invited to the safe space at Enabling Village. India at its best — since opening in 2015 in a sprawling 30,000-square-metre campus at Redhill by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong “dedicated to the integration of the disabled into society”.

A collective effort to be inclusive

Jernice and her mother, Lim Chwee Hoon, learned about the addition of the village in 2018. They haven’t looked back since, attributing it to the type of facilities in the community.

“Jernise looks forward to going to work every day and it gives me a lot of peace of mind to have her in a safe work environment,” says her mother, Jernise, who remains at work while she goes about her daily tasks. Caregivers Pod located on site.

Inclusive spaces at Enabling Village are designed for people with visual and other physical disabilities
Inclusive spaces at Enabling Village, Image credit: Koo Geok Boon

Describing the space as “excellent,” he says staying on campus saves him a lot of transportation costs he would otherwise incur.

“I spend my time in the waiting area, which is equipped with all the necessary equipment, which is a comfortable environment for me to work or relax,” he added.

There are many disabled people and their caregivers, like Jernice and her mother, for whom the Acceptable Village has become a world of its own.

As Boone explained, that was the original goal.

According to him, “Accessible Village” was created so that these disabled people can “move independently, feel who they are and be valued for their contributions.”

“Model” project

The success of an enabling village rests on three pillars, and countries around the world can recognize it as they develop inclusive spaces.

Universal design

The entire campus is designed to be accessible and understandable to users regardless of age, size, ability or disability, Boone said.

Singapore's Enabling Village provides education, employment and more for people with disabilities.  is an inclusive space to find.
Pleasant Village in Singapore, Image credit: Koo Geok Boon

Ramps for wheelchairs, elevators installed in multi-story blocks and a barrier-free movement system ensure that the space is accessible to people with disabilities.

Something for everyone

As guests walk around the Enabling Village, they’ll notice Braille on bathroom doors, stairwells and other key signage to help guide the visually impaired.

In addition, tactile indicators on the floor help guide people using a white cane.

For hearing aid users, the hearing loop system ensures that all rooms are wired so that the hearing aid can automatically connect to the room’s sound system.

Many partnerships

Boone said that in addition to being an inclusive space, Enabling Village also focuses on teaching people with disabilities a variety of programs and skills.

“Several social enterprises employing able-bodied and disabled people are located here. “They go to show that disabled people can make a vital and important contribution to society,” he says.

He adds that their partnerships with voluntary welfare organizations provide members with careers counselling, training and job placement in some cases.

Barrier-free movement is a concept in the countryside that enables people in wheelchairs to move freely.
Barrier-free movement is the concept of Enabling Village, Image credit: Soo Geok Boon

Social model of legalization

There are many expectations for those who come to the suitable village. The campus has centers that provide skill development and training in various aspects.

One of them, according to Boone, is Samsui Kitchen.

“The social enterprise teaches people with disabilities, autism and Down syndrome to cook for nursing homes, student housing, hotels and companies,” he says.

Mr Ang Kian Peng, who installed the kitchen in 2018, explains how the model works.

“In the first phase,” he says, “students learn basic knife skills, cooking and good customer service.” The second phase is when they learn to chop, mix and perform other tasks in the kitchen under the supervision of mentors.”

According to him, the third and final stage will focus on the placement of trainees in hotels, restaurants and commercial kitchens. “However, prior to this deployment, they will be assessed to see if they can function independently.”

In 2021, 60 such people with disabilities were trained at Samsui Kitchen, and the number has been increasing over the past year, Boone said.

Future career path

In May 2022, they also launched the Enabling Academy, where people can get a job after completing the Enabling Village courses.

This part of the project was created to provide different opportunities for lifelong learning to people with disabilities.

Enabling Village has a recreation area for people with disabilities as well as caregivers.
Along with the disabled, there is a place for caregivers to rest, Image credit: Soo Geok Boon

While no job is guaranteed for every course, Boon explains, “Our trainees learn social skills and gain vocational and employability skills that prepare them for employment. “When an intern asks us for help in getting a job, they are first evaluated,” he says.

After this assessment, job seekers are guided to identify suitable job opportunities and contact prospective employers.

“We evaluate the nature of the work, the suitability of the work assignments and the availability of the workplace. We also work with employers to enable the use of assistive devices where appropriate,” he says.After a job seeker is successfully matched to a job, on-site coaching is provided to help them integrate into the workplace.

Since its inception in 2015, Accessible Village has welcomed “an average of 30,000 visitors per month from all walks of life and abilities.” Boone says today it has become a community he loves.

Edited by Divya Sethu


Source link