Dignity Restored with Project Dignity
Mr. Koh Seng Choon
In Singapore and Hong Kong, Project Dignity returns dignity to the disabled and disadvantaged. In 2006, Engineer, Mr. Koh Seng Choon, desired to do something to improve the lives of people with special needs in Singapore. He conceptualized a social enterprise project aimed at providing an always-in-demand service to the public – people with disabilities will be the ones offering that service. His vision materialized in 2010 when Project Dignity was born.
Vocation with passion. Paid on the job training, skills development, employment and service. Project Dignity started in 2010 with one food stall. People with disabilities were taught how to cook, the food was sold to the public – walk-ins and delivered. As time progressed, this concept grew in Singapore and expanded to Hong Kong. Today, the number of food stalls have increased. Another facet has been added. Seniors at residential facilities are taken on daily outings to the Project Dignity location where they are treated to lunch and entertainment. From concept to reality, Project Dignity returns dignity to the disabled and disadvantaged and over the years, has won many awards for doing this.
Being engineers by training, Mr. Koh Seng Choon and his team customize kitchen tools to fit the needs of each type of disability in their program. The world’s first customized noodle cooking machine for the disabled; point of sales machines the blind can use plus ones that can be used by people with intellectual disabilities; others that make the job of cooking much easier compensating for each person’s inability, are all an integral part of Project Dignity.
Not only are participants taught the skill of cooking, but they are also taught interview skills and guaranteed a job when all training is complete. Through the collaborative efforts of companies that support inclusive employment, Project Dignity’s graduates are often able to secure employment. If not, Project Dignity will hire them.
Alongside Project Dignity which trains in food service, employs and integrates people with disabilities into society, Dignity Mama book stores provide employment. With the assistance of caregivers, these second-hand book stores are run by young adults with special needs, selling donated books, stationery and other tidbits.
This social enterprise initiative shows that sometimes the best innovations come from simple ideas. At their locations in Singapore and Hong Kong, Project Dignity hosts private events, accommodate social outreach programs, teach children how to interact with seniors and the disabled and also provide corporate employees with-a-day in-the-life-of-a-person-with-a-disability experience.
People with disabilities are at the heart of this initiative and Project Dignity welcomes every disability, race and age.
Read more about Dignity Mama
Read more about Project Dignity