Crutches can't stop her from...

Entrepreneur with cerebral palsy: "My booth is special because I'm helping someone else too."

Look beyond the brightly decorated booth of colourful toys, bags and jewellery, to the young woman chatting with customers, and you might notice the crutches tucked neatly behind her chair.

Most people don't, and that's the way Low Mary likes it.

Born with cerebral palsy, the 32-year-old's hard work and spirited approach to life has led to her not just running her own business, but using it to help others as well.

The first year was tough and she made a loss, Mary recalls.

"At that time I was a newbie. I didn't know what the market wanted," she says.

Undaunted, she kept learning and adapting, and now makes a modest profit selling her wares at various fairs and bazaars across Singapore.

She doesn't seek any special concessions because of her cerebral palsy, pointing out that she faces "the same challenges as other vendors".

"I don't have to get sympathy. I'm on par with able-bodied people."

But she's grateful for the friendship of her fellow entrepreneurs, who help her when, for example, it rains suddenly and the items she displays need to be covered quickly.

"I consider myself fortunate. Wherever I go, I meet kind people," she says.

Not that she's only on the receiving end of kindness.

You see, the products she sells are made by people with special needs, the old, or those living in financially difficult conditions.

"My booth is special because I'm helping someone else too," she says.

From the emotional support of teachers like Mrs Lee Chor Hui, whom Mary credits with helping her complete a long journey through primary school, to the practical help from family and friends, it is clear that kindness surrounds Mary.

And from the encouragement that she gives to family and friends, and the people she supports with her business, it's clear that crutches can't stop her from reflecting that kindness.

Text by: Jimmy Yap
Pictures and captions by: Tsen-Waye Tay

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