The following blog post was written by a group of students about their experience working on ‘Metanoia’, a day event held at Ngee Ann Polytechnic where they traveled across the campus on wheelchairs to truly understand the challenges faced by persons with disabilities.
On 24 July 2017 (Monday), a group of five Ngee Ann Polytechnic students comprising of Roy Tan, Pay Pei Qi, Lee Si Ying, Sindy Teo and Lee Yu Hsien collaborated with the Disabled People’s Association (DPA) in organising a wheelchair simulation event, ‘Metanoia’ at Makan Place. Disability awareness and volunteer training was conducted by DPA on 20 July that helped the volunteers to gain confidence to interact and include people with disabilities. During the event, students sat on wheelchairs to navigate themselves around the school with the accompaniment of Inclusion Ambassadors; Ms Sakina and Ms Margaret. This was indeed a memorable experience for the students as they were able to better understand the perspectives of people with disabilities and change their attitudes towards them.
Acts like making way for persons with disabilities in lifts can make a difference to them. Some other obstacles faced are the steep slopes in Ngee Ann Polytechnic which was supposed to be of help to them but it became an obstacle. Other than having the wheelchair simulation, inclusion booths were also set up to raise awareness and promote inclusion for people with disabilities and DPA.
Metanoia had another activity; “Human Library”. Inclusion Ambassadors from DPA shared their personal stories with the participants. Participants were able to empathise with persons with disabilities and learnt that disability can also be a form of ability. During the session, Ms Noraini and Ms Sakina introduced themselves and were open to questions asked by the participants. This was a valuable experience for the participants and they felt that this segment was beneficial for them.
Wheelchair experiential activity, disability specific inclusion booths and human library session helped the participants to understand the abilities and needs of persons with disabilities. The event ended with a blast with participants gaining lots of insights of persons with disabilities and learnt that they too play a crucial role in making the society more inclusive.
So, how did Metanoia start out?
Mr Roy Tan came to know about DPA when he volunteered for the DPA & VSA Joint Flag Day 2017 on 25th March 2017. And when his team and him was asked to create an campaign for Persons With Disabilities a few months later, Roy thought of DPA.
The event was named Metanoia as it was a Greek word for making a change in one’s life. With common objectives to embrace differences between the typical and atypical, both DPA and Metanoia has agreed on the collaboration to take up the project.
As part of DPA’s advocacy initiatives, the association had conducted an interesting interaction session for Team Metanoia on 6th May 2017. Inclusion Ambassadors, Margaret and Joseph, shared their experiences and guided the students to do the experiential activities. Students led by Mr Roy Tan, remarked that it was a fulfilling learning experience that raised awareness about disability and inclusion of people with disabilities.