Online community for young caregivers among the winning ideas for the socio-health challenge, Community News & Top Stories

SINGAPORE – After caring for his father, who has difficulty walking, Mr. Benjamin Wong, 34, felt he had accumulated experience and knowledge over the 13 months that could benefit others caregivers.

The User Experience Designer (UX) signed up for Design4Impact, an open innovation platform where groups and individuals work together to find solutions to some of the biggest health and social challenges faced in Singapore.

Working as a team with three other people, they proposed using technology to connect young and inexperienced caregivers, allowing them to seek resources and support through platforms like the Zoom video conferencing platform and the Discord messaging app.

His teammate Ms Vyshnavi Desiraju, 25, said it could allow caregivers to share their experiences and feel heard, as well as build friendships between them.

“In this pandemic, we need human interactions and we need someone to hear our stories, our pain points and our distress,” said the final-year medical student.

Their team, CareStarters, was one of three winners of the Design4Impact challenge, which saw nine shortlisted teams present their solutions to a panel of judges last Friday (December 4).

The other winners were Keep It Real and Garden2Gather.

The concept of Keep It Real was a five-week program to promote mental and emotional well-being in young men, through play quests and workshops on skills such as active listening.

Garden2Gather runs gardening workshops where the elderly can meet and mingle and provide them with edible plant grow kits that they can bond with their neighbors.

This year’s challenge was launched in October and attracted over 180 participants, focused on strengthening the mental well-being of seniors, caregivers and youth.

The three winning teams will each receive $ 10,000 in implementation funding from insurer Prudential Singapore and an additional $ 2,000 from the National Council of Social Service (NCSS).

The challenge was hosted by the Department of Health’s Office of Healthcare Transformation, NCSS, DesignSingapore Council and the NUS Institute of Systems Science.

Thanking all participants for their hard work and empathy, Honorary Guest Minister of National Development Desmond Lee said in a pre-recorded speech that the Design4Impact program is not just a platform for generating new ideas and solutions.

“It is also a gateway for us to bring together and galvanize socially minded Singaporeans like you, to join with us in supporting members of our society who are in need,” he said.

He also announced that Design4Impact will form a community of practice (COP) for greater collaboration between the social, health and community sectors in innovation and implementation of solutions.

The COP is expected to be launched by the first half of next year. Members will benefit from training as well as opportunities to connect with potential funders, mentors, incubators and accelerators.

“(It) will also connect you with interested nonprofits and community groups, for volunteer and employment opportunities,” Lee said.

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