(2023) 14 people with disabilities honoured at 5th Goh Chok Tong Enable Awards

Group photo of the Goh Chok Tong Enable Awards 2023

The awardees at the Goh Chok Tong Enable Awards on Dec 11, 2023 with President, Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong, sponsor and evaluation panel members. (Photo: Mediacorp)

SINGAPORE: Fourteen people with disabilities were honoured on Monday (Dec 11) at the Goh Chok Tong Enable Awards (GCTEA). 

Launched in 2019, the GCTEA is an initiative of the Goh Chok Tong Enable Fund – a community fund administered by SG Enable and supported by Mediacorp – which provides people with disabilities the opportunities to actively contribute to society and lead socially integrated lives. 

Supported by the Tote Board, the awards comprise two categories: The GCTEA (Achievement) category and the GCTEA (Promise) category. 

The former celebrates people with disabilities who have accomplished significant achievements in their fields and served as an inspiration to others, while the latter encourages people with disabilities who have shown promise to pursue greater heights in their areas of talent and willingness to serve the community. 

A total of three individuals were awarded the GCTEA (Achievement) and S$10,000 (USS$7,450) at the ceremony held at the Istana. 

Two of the GCTEA (Achievement) recipients were Team Singapore para-athletes – 76-year-old para-bowler Aisah Ibrahim and 44-year-old para-equestrienne Laurentia Tan Yen-Yi. 

Mdm Aisah, who is also president of the Bedok Youth Society for the Disabled, has represented Singapore in several international tournaments including the Guangzhou 2010 Asian Para Games. 

She also won a silver and a bronze in the 2009 and 2010 National Disability League Singles events respectively. 

Achievement awardee Mdm Aisah Ibrahim with President Tharman Shanmugaratnam and Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong.

Mdm Aisah Ibrahim with President Tharman Shanmugaratnam and Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong. (Photo: Mediacorp)

Ms Tan, who has profound deafness and athetoid cerebral palsy, which impairs her motor coordination, is one of Singapore’s most successful para-athletes.

The 44-year-old won Singapore’s first paralympic medal at the 2008 Beijing Paralympic games, where she finished with two bronze medals. She also won a bronze and a silver at the 2012 London Paralympic Games. 

Singapore Disability Sports Council, which nominated Ms Tan, will also receive S$5,000 in recognition of the contributing role of the nominating organisation in her success journey. 

Another 11 individuals were presented with the GCTEA (Promise) and S$5,000, in recognition of their potential and commitment to serve the community. 

A posthumous award was also presented to Mr Rajpal Nirat Singh, one of the recipients of GCTEA (Promise). Mr Nirat was the founder of a non-profit organisation, Hearing Vietnam, which serves the needs of the deaf and hearing-impaired in Vietnam. 

Mr Nirat, who died in September due to a medical emergency, made significant contributions to increasing disability awareness and actively advocated for persons with disabilities.

hairman of the GCTEA Evaluation Panel Michael Ngu said: “We are all saddened by Nirat’s passing and decided we should still honour his contributions by presenting him with a posthumous award.” 

Mr Ngu, who is also a Board Member of SG Enable and a GCTEA 2019 Achievement Award recipient, said that reviewing the nominations this year was “especially challenging” as they received a sizeable number of deserving nominations. 

“This is a strong testament to the impressive works, talents and potential exhibited by persons with disabilities.”

Speaking at the awards ceremony on Monday, President Tharman Shanmugaratnam highlighted that there is still more to be done to change mindsets in the broader public.

“What shines through all the journeys of the Awardees today, is that they are individuals who are determined to live purposeful lives, just like anyone else,” said Mr Tharman. 

CEO of SG Enable Ku Geok Boon also called upon the wider community to build an inclusive society with equitable opportunities for all. 

“We are honoured to celebrate our Awardees who have displayed unwavering levels of tenacity despite the challenges they face,” said Tham Loke Kheng, CEO of Mediacorp.

“We hope that their remarkable displays of strength and resilience will inspire all of us to rise above the odds, and to champion inclusivity as well,” said Ms Tham. 

The Goh Chok Tong Enable Fund (GCTEF) is a community fund that aims to provide persons with disabilities the opportunities to actively contribute to society and lead socially integrated lives. The Fund is administered by SG Enable, and supported by Mediacorp. ESM Goh Chok Tong is the Patron of the GCTEF. To support persons with disabilities through the GCTEF, please visit GCTEnableFund.sg.

Source: CNA/lk(zl)