By Kim Young Shin
Photos = Cheong Wa Dae
First lady Kim Jung-sook, on a state visit to Singapore with her spouse, President Moon Jae-in, visited the Enabling Village, a community space that brings the disabled and the able-bodied together along with Ho Ching, the wife of Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on July 12.
The Enabling Village is a government-lead assisted living facility that supports disabled people as they integrate into society at large. It has a job training center for people with disabilities, a demonstration zone for some of the newest aid devices, a gym for the disabled, seniors and the able-bodied, a medical clinic and a small souvenir shop that sells works of art created by the residents there. The café and restaurants at the facility also employ disabled people.
The first lady praised Singapore’s disability policies and said that Korea has a lot to learn from the city state. She particularly expressed her interest in a smart watch that prevents parents of disabled children from losing their children, saying, “This is also necessary for seniors in an aging society who are suffering from Alzheimer's.”
First lady Kim also mentioned Cheong Wa Dae’s new campaign to reduce pollution. She gave a bag made from a banner used at the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games to Ho as a gift, saying that, “This is one of the things that Cheong Wa Dae has done to reduce pollution.”
In return, Ho gave the first lady a mug with a drawing of a female worker created by one of the disabled artists there. She said, “These are the women workers of Singapore. They are the ones that made huge contributions to Singapore’s economic development since our foundation.”