Over 13,000 people turn up at annual Purple Parade to show support for people with disabilities
Shaping a fairer and more inclusive society will require all in Singapore to be an agent of change, from firms adopting more inclusive employment practices to community groups working closely with the Government to provide support on the ground.
Speaking on Saturday at the 11th edition of the Purple Parade, a movement to support the inclusion of people with disabilities and celebrate their abilities, Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong said there are clear milestones and targets to achieve a more inclusive society set out under the Enabling Masterplan 2030.
These include raising the employment rate of people with disabilities, aged 15 to 64, from about 30 per cent in 2020 and 2021 to 40 per cent by 2030, and building five new special education schools on top of the current 22.
Mr Wong also highlighted the Forward Singapore report – the fourth-generation leadership’s national strategy for a more vibrant and inclusive Singapore.
Among other things, the 180-page report, which was unveiled in October, includes policy moves to help people with disabilities, such as rolling out a new course to equip general practitioners to care for those with intellectual disabilities.
“The Government will take the lead in all of these endeavours. But we also need all of you, every Singaporean, to do their part… to show more acceptance and kindness to our fellow Singaporeans, especially those whose needs are unique and different from us,” said Mr Wong, who is also Minister for Finance.
This year’s parade, held at Suntec City, saw a record turnout of over 13,000 people, most of whom were wearing purple shirts, with the outdoor area around the Fountain of Wealth awash in a sea of purple.
Mr Wong lauded the organisers of the Purple Parade movement for their efforts in growing the cause – from having just over 3,000 participants in 2013 to more than four times the number in 2023.
The Purple Parade is a ground-up movement comprising those with and without disabilities, caregivers, disability organisations, business corporations, public agencies and volunteers.
Addressing the crowd, national para-swimmer Yip Pin Xiu said: “Let’s all help to raise awareness together and celebrate the diversity of our community as a way of life and not just this weekend.”
During the four-hour event, there were numerous dance and music performances showcasing the talents of performers with different abilities, and carnival booths that raised funds for organisations in the disability sector. There was also a march around Suntec City by the Purple Parade contingent, comprising some 8,000 people from over 140 organisations, to show support for inclusivity.