SADeaf wins Charity Transparency Award 2022

The Singapore Association for the Deaf (SADeaf) is delighted and proud to announce we have won the Charity Transparency Award 2022! The Charity Transparency Awards (CTA) recognises charities for adopting good transparency and governance standards under the Charity Transparency Framework (CTF).

Being awarded the CTA will strengthen confidence and trust in SADeaf among our donors, funders, community and other supporters. This is the second time SADeaf has won the CTA, the first being in 2016. SADeaf is also a finalist of the Charity Governance Award.

Not contented to rest on our laurels, SADeaf will strive to continue our best practices in running our operations, finances and services. We would like to thank our Audit Committee members, Executive Council members and staff for making this possible.

The Charity Transparency and Governance Awards 2022 ceremony was held at the Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre on 9 November 2022. On SADeaf’s behalf, Ms Valerie Tan, Executive Council member and chairperson of the Audit Committee, received the award from Mr Desmond Chin, Commissioner of Charities.

Ms Valerie Tan with Mr Desmond Chin during the award ceremony (Photo courtesy of Charity Council Secretariat, MCCY)

Awards Ceremony 2022: Recognising our achievers!

The SADeaf Awards Ceremony 2022 was held on Saturday, 24 September 2022, as part of the IWDP finale at the SADeaf Hall. This was the first ‘live’ in-person ceremony since 2019. Gracing the occasion was SADeaf President Eric Tseng and Executive Director Judy Lim.

Highlights included opening and closing speeches by President Tseng and Ms Lau Ee Wun, member of the Award Vetting Panel, respectively. All participants enjoyed a buffet and mingling session at the end as well!

Emcee Gohpi Nathan guides us through the ceremony!

These awards recognise outstanding achievers from the Deaf and hard-of-hearing community, as well as teachers who work directly with deaf students.

Outstanding Deaf Student (Secondary):
Toh Ling Ying Gladys
Outstanding Deaf Student (Post-Secondary/Tertiary): Chua Jia Ying
Special Talent: Neoh Yew Kim (Yuki)
Teacher of the Year: Thiruchelvan S/O Nagamuthu (ITE College West)

(There were no award winners or no nominees in all other categories.)

President Tseng with Ms Gladys Toh, Outstanding Deaf Student (Secondary) awardee

Ms Chua Jia Ying, the Outstanding Deaf Student (Post-Secondary/Tertiary) awardee, giving a speech

The long service award for staff recognise their dedication and service to the association and larger community.

5 years
Khairiyah bte Mohd Hussin
Ser Wee Tak

Executive Director Judy Lim with Wee Tak from our facilities team.

10 years
Lee Meng Hong Lily
Kamsiah Binte Abdul Jamil
Barbara Bernadette D’ Cotta

With Ms Lily Lee from MVS.

15 years
Tay Ming Lin Zach
Syed Muhd Bin Abdul Hamid Al-Husaini

With evergreen interpreter Zach Tay

20 years
Lai Siu Fai

With Mr Lai Siu Fai, our two-decade veteran!

30 years
Low Geok Hwa

35 years
Nafisah Bte Mohd Amin

Our heartiest congratulations to all award winners!


Ruby Award
Estate of Henry Bolter (Deceased)
Amarjit Singh

Sapphire Award
Lions Club of Singapore
Balijinder Karur Ranjit Singh
Sonova Singapore Pte Ltd

Taylor & Francis Asia Pacific
Sonova Singapore Ptd Ltd

We are thankful to Sonova Singapore Pte Ltd for its steadfast support through the years.

One for the album!

Ms Lau Ee Wun giving the closing speech!

We wish to thank the Award Vetting Panel, chaired by Mr Martin Marini, as well as all participants, volunteers and staff for making this possible.

By Alvan Yap, CA
Photos by: Edwin Ong, volunteer photographer

Deaf Forum 2022

Deaf participants and a caregiver took part in a cosy “fireside chat” session with SADeaf president Eric Tseng on Saturday, 24 September 2022, as part of the final-day IWDP programme.

This session was an opportunity for Deaf and hard-of-hearing members in our community to share issues of concern and raise suggestions to Eric and the management. There was also a talk by Ms Marianne Su from the SG Digital Office on tech programmes and grants for people .with disabilities, as well as lunch for all to cap the event!

Ensuring full access – participants were provided with notetaking, interpretation and Deaf interpreters.

SADeaf President Eric Tseng presenting Ms Marianne Su a token of appreciation for spending her morning with us!

A Perfect 10 with the Purple Parade!

Purple Parade, which aims to support inclusion and celebrate abilities of persons with disabilities, celebrated its 10th anniversary this year. SADeaf is proud to have been a part of this premier disability event for the past decade!

For this edition, SADeaf partnered with Nanyang Polytechnic for the contingent march on Saturday, 29 October 2022. SADeaf also manned a games booth for the public to try out sign language games and spread the Deaf awareness to the general public.

We wish to thank our volunteers and staff from SADeaf, as well as all those who participated in the event.

By James Ong, DAS

Amplifying our stories!

Amplified is a short story project documenting the experiences of Itinerant Support Service (ISS) clients with hearing loss. For this first edition, we gathered a total of ten stories from clients of different ages, who wrote on their personal narratives about their hearing loss/deafness.

The end results? A collection of their stories in print!

Our young writers! (Excluding the chap on the extreme right.)

On 7 September 2022, ISS clients, parents and stakeholders, including MOE partners, came together for an evening of celebration, food and sharing! Three of our featured writers – Samuel Luah, Reeve Tan and Regina Soh – invited us into their world, to follow along on their journey navigating life with hearing loss. In their own words, and on stage, they shared with the audience the unique challenges they faced, and how they tackled these with the help of the community around them to become self-accepting and self-advocating individuals. Indeed, as the saying goes, it takes a village to raise a child.

There was also sharing by various speakers: Mr Majumdar gave us a glimpse of the parent’s perspective through sharing his experiences in raising a child with hearing loss. Ms Ismaiyah, a Special Educational Needs Officer with one of our school partners, walked us through the strength a home-school-community partnership could bring in supporting these students. Guest speaker, SADeaf staff Mr Alvan Yap inspired our crowd with the story of his search for his identity as a deaf person in a hearing world.

Together on stage launching the book!

To cap the event, Amplified was finally launched! After a year’s hard work, everyone could witness the smiles on each of these student writer’s face, as they got to hold their personal copy of the book everyone had collaboratively produced. The positive energy around the room was so infectious, and it also served as a gentle reminder that no matter how easy or difficult each of their journey is, they will continue to push through, to overcome, and to become the amazing persons they all can be!

To download an e-copy of the book, click here.

Clients and their families tucking in!

Itinerant Support Service (ISS) is a school-based programme for students with hearing loss in mainstream schools. To learn more about Amplified, or the services ISS offer, do chat us up at Browse here for more information.

Text and photos by Joan Peh and ISS team

IWDP 2022: Building Inclusive Communities for All

In conjunction with the annual International Week of Deaf People and International Day of Sign Languages, the Singapore Association for the Deaf (SADeaf) commemorating the occasion via a five-day series of Deaf and Singapore Sign Language (SgSL)-related events ‘live’ on site and online.

With the theme “Building Inclusive Communities For All!”, we showcased the unifying power of SgSL for our community and as a part of the larger society in Singapore. Highlights include a storytelling workshop by a Deaf actor and talks by Deaf persons on their journeys, as well as a sharing session by a CODA (child of Deaf adults).

Singapore Sign Language Week also aims to raise awareness about the importance of sign language in the full realisation of the human rights of people who are deaf; draw the attention of the politicians, authorities and the public to the achievement and concerns of the Deaf people; and is a week for the Deaf, their families and volunteers to get together and share the joy of their achievements!

Exhibitions, talks, and more!
From 19 September to 23 September 2022, Monday to Friday, an exhibition featuring SADeaf services and Deaf awareness info was held at the SADeaf Hall.

And now, let’s dive into the photos of the various activities, speakers and audience!

About 160 visitors and participants attended the exhibition and talks in the evenings during the IWDP and SgSL Week.

Christophe Tay, a Child of Deaf Adults (CODA), gave a well-received talk on “Don’t feel sorry for my deaf parents, communicate with them” on 19 September. He spoke on his personal and family’s experiences as hearing children of Deaf parents – the ups and downs and trials and joys!

The participants taking part in an interactive game with April Chia, our SgSL instructor.

Barbara D’Cotta, SADeaf training manager, deliver a presentation on “A bilingual approach to the education of young deaf children : SgSL and English” on 20 September 2022. She gave insights on how the bilingual bicultural deaf education approached had made an impact on Deaf education in Singapore.

SADeaf staff Gohpi and Moses engage the audience with sign language games!

On 21 September 2022, Yew Hau En, advisor to the World Federation of the Deaf Regional Secretariat for Asia Youth (WFD RSA YS), WFD RSA YS and Youth Work, shared her experience with RSA YS over the past five years.

The 22 September talk was by Alvan Yap who spoke about his 20-year journey from a mainstream school background to being in and part of the Deaf community via Singapore Sign Language.

The entertainment that evening was provided by Elaine Teo, SgSL instructor!

Among the best turnout of the programme, thanks to Elaine and her groupies, eh, we mean, her present and past SgSL students.

On 23 September 2022, we had the honour of having Randy Chew, from the former Hi! Theater group, sharing his SgSL storytelling tips with an enraptured audience!

Our heartfelt thanks to all presenters, speakers, volunteers, audience and staff for contributing to a wonderful week!

Behind the scenes… a peek at our staff and volunteers hard at work setting up and preparing for the event. (Photo by Alvan)

By James Ong, DAS
Photos by Edwin Ong, volunteer photographer (unless otherwise stated)


WFD X SADeaf: Training Deaf Advocates

(Pointing) Towards equal rights!

From 13 to 20 August 2022, SADeaf had the honour of working with the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) to hold a Human Rights and Sign Language Rights workshop in Singapore.

This 8-day workshop was conducted by WFD staff Susana Stiglich (Sign Language Rights Officer) and Alexandre Bloxs (Human Rights Officer). Held at the AVA room at SADeaf, the full-day training was an intense and immersive experience for all 12 participants from the local Deaf community.

Susana enlightening us on sign language rights
Alex explaining complex concepts in simple terms..

The participants were a diverse lot, drawn from a wide range of ages, backgrounds and experiences. What they had in common was their desire to advance the Deaf causes. They were also eager to learn more about advocacy for equal access and equal rights for the Deaf community.

Using the framework of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), which Singapore had ratified, the trainers dove deep and in detail about how it could help us push for improvements in policies and laws. They also shared many interesting and eye-opening case studies from their native Belgium and Peru, as well as many other countries, of how they had successfully achieved their goals. Some countries have enacted legislation which recognised the native sign languages as official languages; others have disability or Deaf-related laws protecting their right to equal treatment and access.

How could we learn from their journeys or adapt their tactics? How do we adapt advocacy strategies to Singapore’s socio-political setting and culture? How best to navigate our way through the challenges – of lobbying the authorities and having a say in policy making, of raising public awareness and empathy? These, and many more topics, were explored and discussed.

Every school a good school, and everyone an excellent student – with all eyes on the trainer.

Such topics are usually dry and tedious but our intrepid trainers made it accessible and fun for us. So.. thank you, Alex and Susana, for ensuring the workshop was such an engaging and educational one!

Yay! We are now “certified”‘!

Our appreciation goes, too, to the WFD and to The Nippon Foundation which funded this project.

Last and not least, a big thank-you to all Deaf participants who dedicated their time and effort to attend the entire workshop.

Text and photos by Alvan Yap

Family Day 2022: We’re back together again!

25 June 2022 was an especially memorable Saturday for certain SADeaf clients and staff – it marked SADeaf’s first ‘live’ family day event since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. Naturally, our clients and family members were excited to see familiar faces in person again after such a long absence from group outings.

The Family Day participants had signed up a SEA Aquarium Guided Tour in collaboration with Xperience Tours. They first gathered at SADeaf, where interpreters, tour guides and staff were on hand to receive them, then we travelled to the venue. All 60-plus people – what a large party! – got to ride on the cable car high above the sea. Happy faces and kids’ laughter abound as we embarked on the cable car ride, taking in the sights and scenery from above.

After the group photo-taking, we were ready to go under the sea! We were split into our separate tour groups for the tour at the SEA Aquarium. At the aquarium, the tour guide provided many insights into the fascinating world under the sea. One interesting question asked was on how we could differentiate between a sea-dwelling mammal such as a dolphin from a fish. The answer? Look at their tails! Mammals have horizontal tails that flap up and down, and fishes have vertical tails which move from side to side.

To end the day, everyone got to enjoy a McDonald’s meal.

Text by Cheong Zhi Hao
Photos by Ernest Toh

To access all photos taken during this event, please click here.

About Deafblindness: A Sharing Session by Tye Lovato

As SADeaf gradually eased its restrictions on gatherings in tandem with Singapore’s opening up after the peak of the Covid-19 crisis, we held our largest gathering since 2020 at the SADeaf Hall on 15 June 2022, Wednesday, from 7:30pm to 9:30pm (though it eventually overran the allocated time and ended at 10pm). And aptly enough, this was for a talk on deafblindness which opened up minds on the topic.

An audience of around 50 from the Deaf community, including Deaf and hard-of-hearing clients, two deafblind persons, hearing allies and members of the public turned up. There were also attendees who attended the event remotely via the live notetaking link provided.

Tye is standing and gesturing on stage. Behind him is his PT and projected on the stage wall is the presentation slide.
Explaining what PT is and its benefits, with a PT in support!

The sharing session was conducted by Tye Lovato, an intern with SADeaf’s Community Service department and was facilitated by SADeaf’s Communication Access department. Tye is from the United States and a third-year undergraduate at the renowned Gallaudet University, pursuing a dual degree in Social Work and Deaf Studies. During his ongoing internship both on-site and remotely, he would be helping with SADeaf’s Deafblind programme.

Tye describes himself as “DeafBlind proud” and has three Deafblind siblings. It was indeed a rare opportunity to hear and learn from Tye, who has much lived experience of navigating life as an independent Deafblind person, especially as we in Singapore are in the nascent stages of setting up our own Deafblind programmes and support systems.

Tye is seated and holding up the hand of his PT, also seated. Standing on their side is another PT.

During his presentation and sharing, Tye was supported by his Protactile (PT) interpreters Jennifer Furlano and Janis Cole. Tye spoke on his personal background, his life experiences, strategies in independent living and the benefits of pro-tactile interpreting. These topics held the audience spellbound, especially the hands-on demonstration of PT interpreting. Tye also gamely tackled the various queries raised by the engaged audience during the Q&A segment.

We are grateful to Tye, with the help of Jennifer and Janis, for doing this insightful session. We also wish to thank interpreters Teo Zhi Xiong and Evelyn Chye – who Tye had requested to voice interpret for him – for their presence and assistance.

Our thanks go, too, to the SADeaf team who worked together and lent their time, energy and resources to ensure the event ran smoothly, including emcee Li Dunrui, interpreters Rashidah Zulkifli and Barbara D’Cotta, notetaker Grace Tan, as well as Ho Yi Lin, and our numerous other unsung backend crew.

And, not least, Tye has a message for everyone: “Thank you for letting me have this opportunity and meeting each of you with many faces and able to touch each of you in my journey. Break the barrier, go through the “can’t” and journey on. I will bring my Singapore experiences back to the United States to share the journey and pass along to many generations of DeafBlind Community.”

Tye is seated with the interpreters and audience participants crowded all around him. Some people are standing, some are seated.
Demonstration of PT interpreting and usage
Tye and his two PTs are standing together, holding soft toys, and smiling.
A photo of Tye, Jennifer and Janis with token of appreciation, the Merdeaf soft toy – thank you for the presentation!
Group photo of the entire audience, team and presenters from a high angle. Most people are waving with both hands.
All together now..
Group photo of Tye in the centre with staff and interpreters.
The (accidentally) perfectly coloured-coordinated staff and interpreting team group photo!

Text and photos by Alvan Yap

DeafTalk: When taking notes is serious business

Amazing grace.. and speed.

“I’m Grace Tan and a staff notetaker with the Singapore Association for the Deaf.

Being a notetaker is interesting because it’s not a common role. It’s one of a kind, in fact. Many people don’t even know what my job is about or that it even exists!

Basically I go to different venues and sit with the clients to note-take for them. This means, during the lectures, meetings or discussions, I type out what I hear as closely as possible. Then the client can read the text on the laptop screen and understand what is going on.

Notetaking is very dynamic. In the course of my job, the places I go and situations I encounter are always different and changing. The work sounds simple but it is not so straightforward in practice. For example, there are people who speak really, really fast. Or there are lectures that are very, very technical. I had also faced difficulty in entering a venue because I’m not a registered participant (only my client was!).

In such cases, I just try my best. I let the client know it’s something beyond my capability in some ways, like, what I typed would not be 100% and might be lacking in certain areas, so that they understand. When I’m not allowed into a certain venue, I would very politely explain why I’m there.

My typical daily routine is to schedule assignments comfortably across the day. Before each assignment, I would ask for reference materials for context. I read up on them so that I don’t get surprised by technical jargon or difficult words. If it’s a new client, I reach out to them first to check their preferences, such as whether they want me to sit next to or away from them. And if it’s a new venue, I head down earlier, because some of the venues and campus can be hard to navigate. 

What makes for a good notetaker? Of course, you need to be able to type fast and accurately, and also be able to pay attention for long periods of time. I also believe in practicing my typing – the more I do it, the more comfortable I get and the more I improve. But I feel what really helps, and keeps me going, is the willingness and heart to understand the needs of a client and to want to be there for them.”

Behind the DeafTalk series
DeafTalk is an interview series that features SADeaf staff sharing about their roles in serving the Deaf and hard-of-hearing community. This aims to create more awareness and understanding of the work we do at SADeaf.

Video interviews conducted by Rabiayatul Adawiyah, Gaius Wong
Coordination, logistics, scheduling, video editing: Firdaus Bahri, Nabilah Bte Zakariah, Melissa Lim
Camera setup, filming,: Lee Wan Ling, Allie Naqia Bte Ahmad
Text (adapted from video interview) and photography: Alvan Yap