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Self-Improvement & Hobbies

Picking up life skills on shopping trip

A new experience for special needs students and adults as they explore social and money skills
The Straits Times - March 29, 2014
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Picking up life skills on shopping trip Nurul Syafiqah, 15, tries on sunglasses with her “shopping buddy” and Uniqlo staff member Muslihah (right), 21, at the retailer’s Suntec City outlet. -- ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN

A CLOTHES store at Suntec City was the scene of a shopping trip with a difference on Thursday.

Twenty-eight students and adults with special needs from the Movement for the Intellectually Disabled of Singapore (Minds) were each given a $100 voucher to choose and buy clothes.

They paired up with employees of Japanese retailer Uniqlo and were equipped with calculators.

Ms Sharon Ng, principal of Minds' Lee Kong Chian Gardens School, said: "This in-store shopping experience teaches them important social and money skills, such as how to crunch numbers and how to make choices based on what they need. They also get to interact with their shopping buddies."

The school specially selected needy students, ranging from seven to 18 years old, for the trip as they "do not get much of a chance to get out" other than for weekly "travelling lessons" to places such as supermarkets.

Student Mohamed Idris Noor, 17, who bought two shirts, a pair of blue jeans and a pair of sunglasses, said: "I like the colour of the items, and I learnt to choose clothes, count money and make payment."

Uniqlo, which funded the event, said it hires 19 intellectually disabled people in its 16 outlets in Singapore. Most of them handle backroom operations such as folding, packing and stocking.

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