Visit to Dignity Kitchen and Enabling Village

Dignity Kitchen is the first and only community food court run by people with disabilities and the socially disadvantaged. Our team headed there for lunch and was delighted to find an array of food options available such as economical rice, wonton mee, claypot rice, rojak and Malay food. Hearing the mission and vision behind this kitchen as well as the stories of the different store owners left us inspired even as we dug into our hearty meals. One of the most memorable stall owners would be Peter Ong, the resident kopi master there. He has difficulty hearing and sign language is needed to communicate orders to him. What strikes me most is his passion for what he does and the positivity and hope he has despite his disability. Surprisingly the most important lessons can be learnt from those who have less than us and for me I have learnt from the stall owners there to find joy in all circumstances. 

After lunch, we headed to Enabling Village. The Enabling Village (EV) is a community space combining retail, lifestyle and training in an all accessible public space. They are also home to several social businesses and community services in hopes of building a more inclusive society. With a special focus on training and employment of persons with disabilities, this is where they strive to build dreams and enable lives. EV runs by ABC — Ability, Barrel free, Community. There are different facilities available in the compound which encompasses the ABC. I will be sharing with you about a few unique features of EV that aims to build an inclusive community. 

Firstly, The ActiveSG gym. This gym has special equipment which allows people with disabilities to exercise thus allowing everyone with different abilities to come together and exercise. 

There is also a unique supermarket with accessories in place to help different groups of people ease the process of buying groceries. This encourages self reliance among people with different disabilities which gives them a sense of independence rather than constantly depending on their caregivers. More than that, this is also a training place for special education schools to learn to do retail as they practice their customer service skills here. 

Lastly, there are also social businesses planted in EV such as DataPost and NLB. They offer sheltered employment to people with disabilities where these employees with engage in data entry and archiving works for their employers. In the case of a meltdown, theres is also a chill-out room where they can regulate themselves with the help of a job coach.

This being my first visit to EV, I was simply amazed by the facilities and social businesses available to empower people with disabilities to live a life of dignity as they can independently carry out different tasks and even work to earn a living of their own!  May we draw inspiration from the work that has been done in EV to our projects in SI!


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