Founded in January 2019, Different Dragons (DD) is a weekly Sunday morning dragon boat team for persons with disabilities and volunteers. Its biggest agenda is to use the sport of dragon boating as a loudhailer to showcase the abilities of PWDs and send the message across that while PWDs may be different, they are definitely not any less.
The initiative was born to cater to a growing interest of PWDs who were keen in the sport after many short-term dragon boat engagements with the community which were very well- received, with many caregivers voicing their interest for a more consistent and continuous initiative. Over the period of November to December 2018, a pilot project of seven training sessions were organised to assess if there were sufficient paddlers with disabilities who wanted to participate in this on a weekly basis. The response was overwhelmingly positive and eventually lead to the launch of DD as a full-fledged initiative.
Despite the team being four months old only, DD has brought about many other benefits such as being a constant source of access to water sports and social interaction for the paddlers and volunteers and serving as a form of caregivers respite during each training session. The team is fast becoming a regular sight among the dragon boat community and is also a great representation of how an inclusive society can look like, especially when the members are of different age groups, race and religion profiles and a myriad of disability conditions ranging from visual impairment, deaf, intellectual disabilities, autism spectrum disorder and many more.
DD’s one term goal is to send a full person with disabilities crew to represent Singapore in the 15th World Nations Championships in 2021. Until then, DD will be participating in local races and bettering our performance every single time. The team is also slowly weaning off our participation in adaptive races and slowly progressing towards racing alongside other regular dragon boat teams.
Funded by Singapore (August 2019)