True Po­ten­tial

Singapore Tatler - - UPFRONT CLOSE-UP -

The Nip­pon Foun­da­tion ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Ichiro Kaba­sawa shares with Hashirin Nurin Hashimi how the or­gan­i­sa­tion is cham­pi­oning artistes with dis­abil­i­ties through the True Colours Fes­ti­val

f you haven’t heard of tony dee, it is time you did. The Aus­tralian, whose real name is Tony Do­even­dans, is the face—and the voice—of the vi­ral We’re the Su­per­hu­mans trailer by the UK broad­caster Chan­nel 4 for the Rio 2016 Par­a­lympic Games. In the video, which has more than 43 mil­lion views on Face­book and Youtube, Do­even­dans’ ren­di­tion of Yes I Can by Sammy Davis Jr is the sound­track to a cin­e­matic show­case of the ex­cep­tional tal­ents of 140 ath­letes, mu­si­cians and or­di­nary peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties. Do­even­dans, who was born with spina bi­fida and is con­fined to a wheel­chair, is set to mes­merise au­di­ences in Sin­ga­pore at the True Colours Fes­ti­val, which takes place from March 22 to 25. Pre­sented by The Nip­pon Foun­da­tion and the United Na­tions Ed­u­ca­tional, Sci­en­tific and Cul­tural Or­ga­ni­za­tion (Un­esco), the fes­ti­val fea­tures a three-night con­cert at the Sin­ga­pore In­door Sta­dium, with a fes­ti­val vil­lage at the nearby OCBC Square, and is pro­duced by Very Spe­cial Arts Sin­ga­pore (VSA). It brings to­gether some 20 artistes with dis­abil­i­ties from the Asia-pa­cific re­gion, along with guest artistes from Canada, the UK, the US and Chile. Since its found­ing in 1962, The Nip­pon Foun­da­tion has been in­volved in ac­tiv­i­ties that sup­port the rights of per­sons with dis­abil­i­ties in Ja­pan and around the world. Through elim­i­nat­ing so­cial bar­ri­ers, it hopes to help every­one re­alise their full po­ten­tial. “Our goal is to build an in­clu­sive global so­ci­ety, not just for per­sons with dis­abil­i­ties, but for every­one,” says ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Ichiro Kaba­sawa. This is aligned with the vi­sion of Un­esco, which it shares a long his­tory with. With its roots in the mar­itime and ship­ping in­dus­tries, The Nip­pon Foun­da­tion draws the ma­jor­ity of its funds from the pro­ceeds of Ja­panese mo­tor­boat rac­ing, which in Ja­pan is a unique phi­lan­thropy-ori­ented en­ter­prise. To­day, the or­gan­i­sa­tion has ex­panded its scope, work­ing with more than 20 part­ner or­gan­i­sa­tions around

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