SINGAPORE – Ms Mary Low, who was born with cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair, started her own pushcart business in 2008 as she wanted to lead an independent life.
Her business also enables her to source products from the elderly and vulnerable communities to support them.
From her earnings, the 41-year-old donates to Cerebral Palsy Alliance Singapore (CPAS) and the Friends of the Disabled Society whenever she can. In 2021, she launched a campaign to sponsor Christmas goodie bags for more than 200 students from CPAS.
For giving back to society despite her personal challenges, Ms Low was conferred the Heart of Humanity award on Thursday.
She was one of five individuals lauded at the annual Singapore Silent Heroes (SSH) Award ceremony held at the Shangri-La Singapore hotel. Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong presented the awards.
The award, now into its 10th year, recognises everyday residents who have quietly made a difference and contributed to those in need without seeking recognition for their deeds. It is organised by non-profit organisation Civilians Association (Singapore) (CAS).
Five winners in different categories were picked from a pool of 26 finalists drawn from a record 111 submissions.
Mr Wong said there are many different examples of silent heroes everywhere in Singapore, and they embody the spirit of fellowship and mutual support that is so crucial to taking the nation forward.
Although Singapore has come a long way in nation-building, it still has many growing social needs, and the Government is reviewing how to better support the more vulnerable, he added.
He said: “We want to uplift the disadvantaged, help our families thrive, and take better care of our seniors, amongst others.
“At the same time, we hope to see fellow Singaporeans doing their part, stepping up and contributing as well. Because there is a difference when help is extended by the community – it is more personal, it is delivered with a human touch, and it is better tailored to every individual’s circumstances.”
Receiving the Inspiring Youth award on Thursday was Mr Toh You Xin, 35.
He has organised events like life skills workshops and awareness programmes to help the deaf community in Singapore for the past 14 years, and trained more than 100 individuals as volunteer leaders to help with these activities and events.