Disabled Empowered to Communicate with the Rest of the World
Singapore, 12 November 2002 – The Christmas spirit of giving has started early this year with StarHub! As the first of a two-pronged Christmas charity effort, StarHub has donated over S$130,000 via its StarHub IDD Charity Fund, to give away desk-top computers, printers and assistive technology equipment to eight charities. These charities are under the auspices of the National Council of Social Services (NCSS).
The assistive technology equipment includes educational software for speech, one hand typing and writing equipment, sensor and trigger switches, speech prisms, mouse splitters and augmentative alternative communication equipment such as step by step communicators, message mates and communication aids. These equipment enable the disabled to use not only the computer but also surf the internet and communicate with the world.
The beneficiaries are as follows:
- AWWA Special School
- Spastic Children’s Association School
- METTA School
- Balestier Special School
- Margaret Drive Special School
- Yio Chu Kang Gardens School
- Singapore School for the Deaf
- Society for the Physically Disabled (SPD)
Mr Terry Clontz, President & CEO of StarHub said, "StarHub has always felt a strong responsibility to the community. That responsibility certainly extends through to assisting those who are physically challenged by providing the technology that allows them to improve the quality of their lives. Not only will they be more able to express their thoughts and emotions to their friends and loved ones, but some will be able to seek meaningful employment and become more self-sufficient."
Launched in July 2000, the StarHub IDD Charity Fund has been instrumental in driving StarHub’s community program, from funding basic necessities and educational tools to experiential benefits such as overseas and field trips. The Fund has been strongly supported by StarHub customers as StarHub has committed one per cent of its IDD revenue to the Fund. To date, StarHub has donated over S$600,000 to charity.
The second Christmas charity campaign will be with The Boys’ Brigade Sharity Gift Box, where StarHub has already committed over S$100,000 to fulfill the wishes of the young and old. StarHub has also promised S$6,000 to the Children’s Cancer Foundation Wishlink program for next year.
Mr Koh Nai Teck, President of SPD said, "For people without disabilities, technology makes things easier. For people with disabilities, technology makes things happen. SPD is therefore very grateful to StarHub for its generous donation of PCs as well as funding the various assistive technology software and devices to enable us to set up our new computer lab. With PC skills and through the use of assistive technology, people with disabilities will be able to overcome their limitations and study, live and work normally."
Lending a helping hand
StarHub’s donation of assistive technology equipment will come in handy for people like Thomas Chua, a 22-year-old tetraplegic with paralysis in four limbs. Thomas was in his second year at a local polytechnic when he fell from the third level of a friend’s flat. He sustained a spinal cord injury that incapacitated him. Today, he has completed the voice recognition programme training at SPD. Thomas’ dream is to someday become a designer of greeting cards or to work in a computer-related field like web/poster designing.
"With the voice recognition software, I’m able to control the mouse by saying ‘begin voice mouse’. I can say ‘move left’, ‘move up’, ‘faster’, ‘slower’, ‘left click’, ‘right click’ and ‘drag’. With these simple voice commands I can do everything that someone with a normal mouse can do. I would like to thank StarHub for providing the funds to buy such software that tetraplegics will benefit from."
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