Singapore Airlines sells products by artists with special needs
Snack boxes with designs by autistic artist will also be served on its flights
When Mr Aaron Yap was around five years old, he liked to draw on the walls, floor and tables at home.
Now 22, his artwork is going to be seen globally. His sketches of local food, such as satay and kueh lapis, will be used as the design of in-flight snack boxes on Singapore Airlines (SIA) flights.
Mr Yap has autism and works in the kitchen area at a McDonald's outlet.
The SIA snack boxes with his designs are part of a new initiative announced yesterday to feature artists with special needs on a global platform.
It is also the first move of disability support organisation SG Enable's i'mable campaign, which aims to create a marketplace for quality goods by people with disabilities.
The snack boxes are born out of a collaboration between SIA, SG Enable and the Autism Resource Centre (ARC) to showcase the works of artists with autism.
Ms Ku Geok Boon, chief executive officer of SG Enable, said: "This ground-up collaboration shows how corporates can work with the disability sector to achieve greater social impact."
Mr Yap's snack boxes will start appearing on flights in June. These boxes will be used to contain refreshments for Economy Class passengers.
He said: "I have always dreamed of being an artist and selling my art. I am happy and honoured SIA would do this for me."
SIA also launched KrisShop Cares yesterday, on its online retail platform KrisShop. It will carry a range of merchandise designed by these artists, which include cushions and pouches with the image of the Singapore skyline.
Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin, who first spoke of such an initiative last December, said: "It is not just about them (people with disabilities), it is very much about us.
"In the process of enabling Singaporeans with special needs, it raises awareness, breaks barriers and we truly become inclusive and not just say it."
He also called on other national icons and Singapore brand names to celebrate artists with special needs.
He added that he is working with Changi Airport Group to make this possible.
Mr Tan said: "Not only are we known for efficiency, high productivity, high quality services and products, we are also known for a lot of heart, and we should not be shy about it."
Ms Denise Phua, president of the ARC and mayor of the Central Singapore District, added: "What a great way to fly our national flag. We are delighted that our differently abled artists can have this global platform to showcase their abilities."
Another artist whose items will be sold on KrisShop Cares is Miss Tia Anasha, 20, a student at the Institute of Technical Education.
She said of her mermaid-print pouches: "I feel proud and happy, and I am sure these products will be sold."