Bullying is one of the top reasons that leaves children scarred for life. It is even more common for children with intellectual disability to be affected by it. Today, we talk about a queen who wore these scars like a crown and let nothing come in between her and her dreams. Here’s the story of Florence.
Her journey from a wallflower to a leader:
When Florence was a young girl, she faced a lot of challenges in school, related to learning. She lacked confidence and had difficulties getting by the day. Most days, she also avoided school because the teachers could not understand what she was going through. However, once she was moved to a special education school – The APSN Katong school at the age of 8 years, she was seen blossoming in ways people never thought she could. She, later on, took up leadership roles and became the school prefect.
The grim reality of bullying
Growing up, Florence faced a lot of bullying in her mainstream school. Not only was she bullied verbally, once a person who she thought was a friend threw her bag in the drain which left her heartbroken and scared. Although challenging, Florence overcame all this to become who she is today.
Awakening of the warrior queen
After joining Special Olympics, she took part in sports like bowling and athletics and won several medals at national level games. She is now one of the most decorated medalists with Special Olympics Singapore. She is also a health messenger and athlete leader who helps raise awareness about the rights of people with intellectual disabilities in Singapore.
In 2018, she hosted a highly prestigious event – the President’s Volunteerism and Philanthropy Awards – showcasing her talent as an emcee and speaker. The event was attended by the President of Singapore, and more than 350 decorated guests from the social service sector.
Professionally, Florence has joined Uniqlo, Singapore and is loving the work there. She says that she enjoys her job there and it has given her a sense of purpose.
If only we can make the world a more inclusive place for people with intellectual disability. Everyone deserves a #FairChance at equal opportunities. It is not our differences that divide us; it is our inability to recognise, accept and celebrate those differences.
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