Mr Ron Chandran-Dudley, 81, passed away after a massive heart attack on Wednesday, 30 December 2015 in Parkway East Hospital, Singapore. Born in April 18, 1934, Mr Chandran-Dudley was an exceptionally brilliant child with a heart to serve others. He aspired to be a brain surgeon and was accepted to study medicine in England. But a freak accident during a rugby match caused him to lose his sight in 1952.
Despite this setback, Mr Chandran-Dudley was not demotivated. He became passionate about serving persons with disabilities. After graduating with a degree in social anthropology from the prestigious London School of Economics, Mr Chandran-Dudley returned to Singapore to take on the position of general secretary at the Singapore Association for the Blind (now called the Singapore Association for the Visually Handicapped) and developed an Open Education System that allowed students with visual disabilities to study in a mainstream school. Mr Chandran-Dudley later obtained masters degrees in vocational rehabilitation counselling, psychotherapy and sociology at the State University of New York at Albany, New York.
Upon his return to Singapore in 1971, Mr Chandran-Dudley branched out into other areas of social services. He became the Consultant Counsellor and Vice President at the Singapore Association of Mental Health (1976-1978, 1980 and 1991), President of SAVH (1987-1991), Chairman of the White Cane Club of the Blind, and Member of the Board of Trustees of the Singapore Professional Centre (1991-1992).
Mr Chandran-Dudley’s major achievement is his participation in the founding of the Disabled People’s International (DPI) in 4th December 1981. This is a global organisation that collaborates with United Nations Economic & Social Council, World Health Organisation, International Labour Organisation and other UN Agencies. Mr Chandran-Dudley was the organisation’s first World Chairman. During the next four years, Mr Chandran-Dudley often travelled abroad to convince people to set up DPI affiliates in other countries. Today, DPI has over 100 DPI affiliates in more than 90 countries around the world. Back in Singapore, Mr Chandran-Dudley founded the Disabled People’s Association in 1986 to further the cause of the disability movement. He strongly believed in empowering those with disabilities to have a voice of their own and always stood for what is right and just. This motto of ‘VOICE OF OUR OWN or – VOX NOSTRA’ was and still is the motto of the DPI and DPA. Mr Chandran-Dudley’s dedication to the disability cause at both local and international levels has won him many accolades.
Mr Chandran-Dudley was truly an extraordinary person. His passing is a great loss to DPA and to the disability community has a whole. Mr Chandran-Dudley will be profoundly missed by everyone whose lives he touched. Nevertheless, his name and legacy will live on in our hearts and minds as we stride towards greater inclusion for people with disabilities in Singapore. DPA will continue to work hard and build on his legacy going forward.
Learn more about Mr Ron Chandran-Dudley: http://www.thinkcentre.org/article.php?id=2504.