September 2009, ABLE’s origin
Our Story began when the Catholic Social and Community Council approached ABLE’s Founding Chairman, Mr Raymundo Yu, to help Caritas Singapore establish a charity dedicated to serving people with physical disabilities. This virtuous cause resonated deeply with Mr Raymundo, and he proceeded to recruit several like-minded individuals who share similar ideals.
ABLE was incorporated on 25 October 2010 and began operations as a member of Caritas Singapore. At the same time, ABLE functioned as the social and community arm of the Catholic Church in Singapore. ABLE obtained certification as an Institution of a Public Character (IPC) on 24 November 2010.
2010-2015, Centre for The Physically Challenged
Prior to incorporation, research was carried out to assess the needs of people with physical challenges in the community. Talks were held with various organisations aligned with ABLE’s cause and values to explore the possibility of collaboration. Partnering with the Handicaps Welfare Association, ABLE kickstarted the maiden project known as the Centre for the Physically Challenged (CPC). It provided the physically challenged with rehabilitation, training and Return-To-Work services. Through this project, we served 326 clients, completed over 500 rehabilitation sessions, 160 courses and 182 job/project placements.
2013-2017, Agape Respite @ MDAS
A key focus area was the challenges faced by caregivers of physically challenged individuals. We aimed to provide avenues for these caregivers to relax and unwind. With this in mind, ABLE ran Agape Respite@MDAS with the Muscular Dystrophy Association Singapore between March 2013 to December 2017 with the intention of giving the esteemed caregivers opportunities to energise and refresh themselves. At this centre, caregivers were given respite through organized activities while their care recipients were engaged in other activities. Over 200 family caregivers and 140 care recipients benefited from the centre and customized home-based programmes.
ABLE SEAS Set Up: ABLE SEAS, an extension of ABLE’s Return-To-Work (RTW) Programme, is an inclusive employer. They employ persons with physical challenges as accounting assistants who are tasked with providing accounting and payroll services to corporations and charity organisations. It was initially conceived as a project in 2013 to train and coach physically challenged clients on accounting knowledge and skills, and to place them in gainful employment.
Relocation to Agape Village: ABLE moved to Agape Village in late October 2015 and set up three centres:
ABLE Rehabilitation & Training Centre: The centre runs a Return-To-Work (RTW) Programme by providing rehabilitation, employment support and training services to help persons with physical challenges to increase their employability and return to the workforce.
ABLE Respite Centre offers centre-based and home-based respite services, to support the socio-emotional needs of family caregivers through talks, support, and interest groups.
ABLE Transport helps persons with mobility challenges commute via wheelchair-accessible island-wide transport services.
In 2018, ABLE was awarded the President’s Challenge Empowering for Life fund. In 2019, President Halimah Yacob visited ABLE to meet our clients and caregivers. She toured ABLE’s centres and ABLE SEAS Office and joined our care recipients in their music therapy session. Throughout the visit, she had the opportunity to learn more about ABLE’s efforts to help the physically challenged reintegrate into the workforce.
ABLE’s clients, caregivers, volunteers and employees came together to participate in the Purple Parade march in support of disability inclusion at Suntec City. It was the first time that ABLE participated in the Purple Parade, a national movement to support inclusion and celebrate abilities of persons with disabilities.
2020, ABLE’s 10th Anniversary
ABLE’s 10th anniversary year has been an eventful one, with the COVID-19 pandemic changing life as we know it on many levels. ABLE’s steadfast mission to empower the physically challenged to live dignified and independent lives remains important. When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, the ABLE team innovated quickly to continue serving clients and caregivers via teleconferencing tools, ensuring that no one was left behind. Looking ahead to the future, ABLE hopes to continue innovating to reach out to more clients and caregivers in the comfort of their own homes. To commemorate ABLE’s decade-long journey, we released a 10th Anniversary video. (Link to YouTube video: ABLE celebrates 10 years of empowering the physically challenged. )
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