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Press Release: The Singapore Association for the Deaf signs MOU with Grab to empower the Deaf and hard-of-hearing community

  • SADeaf appoints Grab as SADeaf’s Ambassador, a testament to Grab’s contribution to the community.
  • Highlights of partnership includes Grab providing SADeaf beneficiaries access to new economic opportunities and SADeaf providing skills upgrading access for existing Deaf Grab driver and delivery-partners.

Singapore, Friday, 27 September 2019 —The Singapore Association for the Deaf (SADeaf) today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Grab to appoint Grab as SADeaf’s Ambassador to form a partnership to promote Deaf awareness and make the Grab platform more accessible and inclusive for the Deaf and hard-of-hearing community. Highlights of the partnership includes a public education campaign and Grab in-app feature enhancements to promote better communications between the public and Deaf partners, as well as skills upgrading opportunities for Grab Deaf partners. The partnership is also one of the many initiatives under Grab’s ‘Grab for Good’ social impact programme which aims to empower people in Singapore to benefit from the fast-growing digital economy and have more choices and opportunities to improve their livelihoods. 

The MOU was signed by Ms Judy Lim, Acting Executive Director for The Singapore Association for the Deaf and Mr Yee Wee Tang, Country Head of Grab Singapore, and witnessed by Mr David Phung, Head of Corporate Affairs, The Singapore Association for the Deaf and Mr Russell Cohen, VP for Regional Operations, Grab at an appreciation luncheon hosted by Grab for its Deaf and hard-of-hearing driver and delivery partners today. Grab was also appointed as SADeaf’s Ambassador for the Deaf, a partnership between SADeaf and corporates that fosters ongoing support and collaboration for the Deaf and hard-of-hearing community, at the same event. 

“Grab believes everyone should have access to financial independence – regardless of background or ability. Through this partnership, we hope to empower more Deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals by providing them with another source of income. Beyond that, we also hope to gain more understanding of their challenges and offer a friendlier environment for them to work in,” said Yee Wee Tang, Country Head of Grab Singapore. “We’re committed to inclusivity, and want to support these partners as they create a better future for themselves and their families. They inspire us every day, and it motivates us to continually design and build more products to enable more meaningful earning opportunities.”

Ms Judy Lim, Acting Executive Director for The Singapore Association for the Deaf, said “We are very happy with this collaboration with Grab becoming our Ambassador for the Deaf.  It has brought about employment for Deaf and hard-of-hearing drivers, creating independent living and financial sustainability for them. This has also been made possible through the use of Grab app where there is no need for verbal communication between the driver and the passenger. Passengers who take the ride with Deaf drivers are also being notified by the Grab app. There is even the dashboard at the back of the seat to tell you how to communicate with the Deaf.  This makes the ride very friendly and comfortable, helping passengers gain a better understanding about the Deaf and hard-of-hearing community.  We appreciate Grab for this very meaningful initiative.”

Today, some 50 Deaf driver and delivery-partners are earning an income on the Grab platform in Singapore. The year-long partnership will allow Grab to better understand the needs and challenges of the local Deaf community, which will be used to build solutions and advocacy programs to serve them better. 

It also serves to further strengthen the commitment towards specific initiatives that can best provide income and welfare opportunities for the Deaf driver and delivery-partners. Both parties are collaborating to provide the following support:

  • Providing access to new economic opportunities. For Grab to facilitate SADeaf beneficiaries who are keen to be driver and delivery-partners on the Grab platform. In an industry-first move, Grab will also reduce the commission rates (contributed to the platform for every ride) by 50% through a rebate scheme for existing and new Deaf drivers who are members of SADeaf.
  • Providing access to new economic opportunities. Grab will facilitate the onboarding process for SADeaf beneficiaries who are keen to be driver and delivery-partners on the Grab platform.
  • Promoting skills upgrading. SADeaf will provide skills upgrading access through existing programmes for existing Deaf Grab drivers and delivery-partners.

Members from the Deaf and hard-of-hearing community are encouraged to sign up as a member with SADeaf to take full advantage of the benefits.

As part of its commitment to do more for the community, Grab had earlier conducted focus group discussions with its existing Deaf driver-partners to get their feedback on how Grab can provide them with a better driving and delivery experience. Based on their inputs, Grab will be implementing the following product, platform and process improvements in the coming year:

  • Customised Feature Support on Grab
    • Message prompts to passengers and customers informing them that they have been paired with a Deaf partner, advising them to use the GrabChat feature to communicate.
    • Turning off the call function for Deaf and hard-of-hearing driver-partners. This is to prevent passengers from attempting to call their driver-partners and to communicate via GrabChat feature instead.
    • Sticker Identifier attached to the driver’s headrest to inform passengers on the right way to communicate with their drivers.
    • In-car flip cards to further facilitate better non-verbal communication between our driver partners and passengers, covering typical requests and concerns such as directions, air-con temperature, toll fee exclusion in fare. For GrabFood delivery-partners, a set of visuals have been developed to allow easy access through the Grab delivery-partners’ mobile phone.
    • In-app communication guides on how to interact with Deaf driver-partners
  • Enhanced training and onboarding materials with local subtitles and sign language to ensure smoother registration for Deaf partners.
  • A public education campaign to promote better communication and empathy between partners and passengers, address misperceptions and raise confidence in the Deaf driver-partners’ abilities to do their job. This includes educational videos on hand signs so the public can learn to communicate with the Deaf community.

Teo Hang Keong, a Grab Deaf driver-partner in Singapore, said, “I have a full time job as an intelligence data analyst, but it is not enough to support my family. Driving part-time for Grab to supplement my income has been helpful, as I am also planning for my retirement.” 

When asked about his experience as a Grab driver-partner, he shared “The passengers I come across are very understanding, and they do not doubt my driving skills just because I am Deaf. Some of them are even able to communicate with me using sign language, which really makes my day!”

Deaf Can Drive: A Ride with Peter – Grab x Our Grandfather Story

Ever met one of our Deaf driver-partners? This International Week of the Deaf, get to know Peter Ho a little better – and learn how to sign "thank you"! 💚#GrabForGood #IWDeaf2019

Posted by Grab on Thursday, 26 September 2019

Peter Ho, another Deaf-driver partner in Singapore, shared, “I have been driving since I was in my 20s. My dad told me to get a driving license as driving is a useful skill that would come in useful in the future. I like driving because I get to meet and interact with new people from different parts of the society. I also hope they gain an understanding and patience with people with disabilities.

I enjoy sending them to Changi Airport, and helping them with their luggage. While driving can be tiring at times, my sons know that I do it for them and that’s what keeps me going.” 

About Grab

Grab is the leading super app in Southeast Asia, providing everyday services that matter most to consumers. Today, the Grab app has been downloaded onto over 152 million mobile devices, giving users access to over 9 million drivers, merchants and agents. Grab has the region’s largest land transportation fleet and has completed over 3 billion rides since its founding in 2012. Grab offers the widest range of on-demand transport services in the region, in addition to food and package delivery services, across 339 cities in eight countries. For more information, please visit

About SADeaf

Established in 1955, the Singapore Association for the Deaf (SADeaf) has been serving the Deaf and Hard-of-hearing community for the past six decades. SADeaf is a member of the National Council of Social Service (NCSS), and is supported by Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) and Ministry of Education (MOE).

The association is also affiliated, internationally, to the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) and, locally, to the Children Charities’ Association (CCA). SADeaf will be celebrating its 65th Anniversary in 2020. For more information, please visit

Media Contact
Mr David Phung, Head of Corporate Affairs, SADeaf,, 9105 5048

Winners of 2019 Deaf Achiever Awards

SADeaf’s Deaf Achiever Awards aim to recognise the outstanding achievements of Deaf individuals, regardless of their level of hearing loss.

Congratulations to the following 2019 Award winners!

Outstanding Deaf Student (Secondary education)
Gan Jun Huan

Outstanding Deaf Student (Tertiary education)
Quek Hwee, Kimberly

Outstanding Deaf Sportswoman
Adelia Naomi Yokoyama

Special Talent
Angel Chua Lay Keng

From left: Guest of honour Mr Sam Tan, minister of state; Ms Angel Chua, Ms Adelia Naomi Yokoyama; Ms Gan Jun Huan; Ms Kimberly Quek; Mr Martin Marini, president, SADeaf

Lifetime Achievement Award (Posthumous)
Mr Peng Tsu Ying (PBM)

Mdm Mona Peng receives the SADeaf Lifetime Achievement Award on behalf of her late father, Mr Peng Tsu Ying, from Mr Sam Tan.

I Love You Award


  • Nanyang Technological University, Welfare Services Club, Regular Service Project Deaf Community (RSPDC)
  • Marina Bay Sands Pte Ltd


  • Kuan Im Tng Temple (Joo Chiat)
  • Estate of Henry Bolter Deceased
  • Fullerton Fund Management Company Ltd
  • Kentucky Fried Chicken Management Pte Ltd
  • Karexparts Pte Ltd
  • Sivantos Pte Ltd

SgSL Sign Bank launched!

SADeaf is delighted to announce the official launch of the Singapore Sign Language (SgSL) Sign Bank during the SADeaf Awards Ceremony held on 21 September 2019.

This online bank aims to:

  • Collect signs used by the Deaf community in Singapore
  • Document SgSL for research purposes
  • Promote SgSL to the public
  • Support sign language-related activities

This is one of the first steps in our journey towards building knowledge and resources towards a full-fledged SgSL dictionary and the eventual recognition of SgSL as an official language in Singapore.

Everyone can access the SgSL Bank Sign here(

See you there!

SADeaf is one of the touch points for Assistance Technology Assessment

Services provided by SADeaf are listed in the Enabling Guide. Refer to the link for more info.

Donations to Singapore School for the Deaf

Singapore School for the Deaf (SSD) was established in 1963 to provide primary level education to Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing children.  It was closed in December 2017. The Singapore Association for the Deaf (SADeaf) is grateful for all the support that the community has given to the school over the few decades.  We are especially heartened by the generous donations that we have received to support the school programmes and needy students of the school.

With the closure of SSD, we have remaining funds from various donors. We would like to channel the remaining funds to another school under our association, Mountbatten Vocational School (MVS).  MVS was established in 1975 to provide vocational training to youths with various learning disabilities. It is an ITE Approved Training Centre and currently it serves 80 students, providing them with training in F&B Services, Food Preparation and Housekeeping.  The objective of the programme is to help the students learn relevant skills and be ready for employment.

Donors may reclaim the monies they have donated to SSD or give input to SADeaf’s intention to re-channel the donated funds to MVS by 30 September 2019.  If donors would like to seek a refund, please provide us with supporting documents such receipts from the school or the association.

Martin Marini


The Singapore Association for the Deaf

SADeaf Hotline

Good news, The Singapore Association for the Deaf is launching the hotline service. This service is meant for the deaf community to make enquiry, appointment or any related matters.

You can either make one of the following ways:
– Skype ID : SADeaf hotline
– Whatsapp no 96885091

Please note that the service is operating only on weekdays from 8.30am to 5.30pm (avoid lunch hours from 1pm to 2pm).

Click here for a video clip.

Thank you.

Change in service fees (Interpretation and Notetaking)

Due to rising operational costs, The Singapore Association of the Deaf (SADeaf) will formally introduce changes to the existing service rates that have remained the same for over 20 years.

The change will take effect from April 2019.

Prevailing rates:

Service requested from Fee
per hour
Minimum hours
| Minimum Fee
Affiliates (such as SSD and MVS) $10 3 hours | $30
SADeaf Staff
Registered Client
Registry of Marriages $10 2 hours | $20
Voluntary Welfare Organisations $20 2 hours | $40
Government Boards $30 2 hours | $60
State/Family Court
Syariah Court
Unregistered Individual
Tourist $50 2 hours | $100


New Rates:

Service requested from Minimum Fee for first 2 hours Fee for subsequent 30min blocks
Affiliates (such as SSD and MVS) $20 $5 per 30min
SADeaf Staff
Registered Client
Voluntary Welfare Organisations $60 $15 per 30min
Institutes of Higher Learning (New Category) $80 $20 per 30min
Medical (New Category)
Government Boards & Agencies
Syariah Court
Unregistered Individual
Tourist $100 $25 per 30min

The Little Hands Bilingual-Bicultural Programme

For enquiries, contact us at 6344 8274 or email at

Eat with Your Family 2018

Our Office will close half an hour earlier @ 5pm on 16 November 2018, Friday for our staff members to enjoy quality time with their loved ones.