At Guide Dogs Singapore (GDS), we envision a world with greater inclusion and opportunity.
2018 has been a momentous year for GDS as we see a significant increase in demand for our services. Not only have we expanded our client base by 24.5%, we have also increased our service hours with clients by 270 hours. There was also a rise in the number of partnerships with various organisations and establishments that have joined the cause to become guide dog friendly.
From April to July 2018, we celebrated the International Guide Dog Day (IGDD) with a campaign to pay tribute to guide dogs for the important role they play in our society and the talented professionals who have dedicated themselves to guide dog training. The four-month campaign saw more than 300,000 people coming together to express their gratitude to these dogs for making an impact on the lives of many through outreach talks, fundraising activities and engagement on social media. The campaign raised $89,667 in total.
In the same year, we also held our second White Cane Community Day Event “Guide Dogs Can Lah!”. The objective of the event is to celebrate successes of people with vision loss, promote awareness of their abilities (despite their disability) and encourage interaction between members of the public and people with vision loss to foster better understanding. Held at the Toa Payoh Hub Atrium, the event saw a 20% growth in participation rate, over 70% increase in event partners and over $191,081 in funds being raised, compared to the previous year.
We are especially grateful to our long-standing corporate partner, TechnipFMC, for their generous contribution and the Singapore Totalisator Board for providing matching grants to the above events.
In Singapore, it is estimated there are 30,000 people who are blind or visually impaired but we only have six guide dogs in Singapore. Training a guide dog requires substantial funds and clients may wait up to one year to receive suitable dogs. Seeing how guide dogs transform the lives of their handlers, more clients have stepped forward to request for guide dogs. In addition, the demand for our two training programmes – Orientation & Mobility and Activities of Daily Living Skills – has also increased. We are excited about the growing demand and clients’ confidence in our service.
On behalf of GDS, I appeal to your generosity to fund our work and sincerely encourage all of you to embark with us on this journey to help our visually-impaired friends gain greater confidence and be empowered to achieve their dreams.
We would like to thank everyone for your unwavering support and faith in GDS and we look forward to another fantastic year ahead with you.