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=Dreams Asia Breakthrough Prize Launch Event
on 19 May 2022

On 19 May, we officially launched the Breakthrough competition at the Grand Ballroom of Voco Orchard Hotel. The event was attended by individuals from diverse backgrounds, including many who were keen to participate in the competition. Attendees were welcomed with an opening speech by Dr Tan Bee Wan, Chair of Institute of Learning Centre (ILC) CSR and part of the organising committee, along with the philanthropic charity organisation, =Dreams Asia.

A few other speakers were also present, to provide insights on poverty in Singapore - the main issue that the competition strives to tackle. Some topics covered were, Frameworks for Poverty Eradication in Singapore by Associate Prof. Irene Y. H. Ng, NUS Dept of Social Work, MSF's Aspiration on Eradication of Poverty by Ms. Ang Bee Lian, Director-General of Social Welfare, MSF, and Defining Breakthrough in Eradicating Poverty by Dr. Dean Williams, President, The Leader’s Compass.

In her presentation, Associate Prof. Irene Ng gave an overview on the poverty situation in Singapore. She covered Singapore’s progress over the years and made comparisons with other countries. She highlighted that the poverty rate in Singapore has not made much of an improvement if the income inequality rate is also being considered. The income inequality rate is higher now compared to the year 2000. She encouraged charitable organisations to be bolder and more generous instead of being lean and mean when it came to defining causes as well as making donations.

Ms Ang Bee Lian, on the other hand, discussed more about the efforts that have been done by the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF). These efforts were based on MSF’s aspirations in promoting long-term social mobility. Various services that are currently being offered to meet some of the needs of the communities were introduced. In her summary, she concluded that despite the MSF’s accomplishments in providing relief and in building an inclusive ecosystem for the community through their multi-pronged programmes, there are still gaps that need to be addressed.

The two speakers were then followed by Dr Dean Williams, who spoke about what should and could be considered as a breakthrough in eradicating poverty, reviewing definitions as well as possible stages. He believes that a breakthrough can only be achieved when the solution is something different that has never been done before. This approach will open up new possibilities for actions and accomplishments. Dr Dean also reminded everyone to always remember to have fun in the process as it is a crucial element for one to be able to keep learning.

During the Briefing of the Breakthrough Prize Award by Michelle Lim, Founder of Make the Change, she highlighted the organising committee’s expected outcomes for the competition. The winning proposal should include concrete and measurable impacts in increasing the net value of low-income families living in rental flats. In addition, it should be sustainable in a way that can be adjusted to fit other important issues such as addressing value shifts, mindset changes, and deep community learning, among others.

Other judging criteria include the possibility of the solution being implemented by any Family Service Centre, social enterprises and other community-based organisations in Singapore. Participants can join the competition in teams of two or more, and is open to anyone with three months of formal or informal experience working with low-income families in Singapore.

Submissions are currently being accepted and the closing date will be on 22 July, 6pm. From there, 25 teams will be shortlisted and given four months to further develop their proposals and for the winning team to be selected.

More information can be found on the competition’s official website,


Interested in taking part? Here are the next steps to take:

  1. Take the time to read through the "Participation Rules & Information Pack" available for download on the website's "Submissions" tab to ensure that your team members fit the eligibility criteria (point 4 in info pack)

  2. Download the Registration Form from our website, fill out the necessary information, and email it back to us ASAP with the subject header "TEAM REGISTRATION: (INSERT TEAM NAME)". Please indicate who the Team Leader is clearly in the form.

  3. Develop your proposal and upload the relevant documents on our Submissions tab on the website by 22 July, 6pm. (point 7.1 in info pack for all deliverables)

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