top of page

=Dreams Asia Breakthrough Prize - Congratulations to Our Grand Winner!


After an entire year of research and prototyping, one team has risen among 63 participating teams to win the =Dreams Asia Breakthrough Prize. Their novel breakthrough idea is built upon the principle of empowering families to help themselves.

In May 2022, the =Dreams Asia Breakthrough Prize was launched. It offered a grand prize of $500,000 for breakthrough ideas for eradicating poverty in Singapore. From all applicants, 25 shortlisted teams were provided a seed funding of $25,000 each to refine and further develop their proof of concepts. 

After a year of hard work including attending various workshops, conducting research, and prototyping, 8 finalist teams gathered at the =Dreams Asia Breakthrough Prize Award Ceremony 2023 on 4 May 2023 to screen their final presentations. The event was held at PARKROYAL COLLECTION Pickering, and was graced by Mr Eric Chua, Senior Parliamentary Secretary of the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth, and the Ministry of Social and Family Development. 

We offer our heartiest congratulations to our grand winner - Team Empowered Families Initiative! The team consists of 29-year-old Community Development Practitioner Adriana, 32-year-old social worker Sonia Mariana, and 36-year-old social service professional Palvindran. They were once colleagues, who no longer work together. Their common passion to help those in need led to their reunion in this competition.

“We are so happy and privileged to have been chosen to win the award. The experience was energising, refreshing and life-giving. While enabling families to be empowered, we also saw it as a parallel process where we ourselves also felt empowered by the process - having been able to embark on this creative process of trying out and pioneering this innovative approach in working with families,” said the team. 

Their Breakthrough solution is known as the Empowered Families Initiative - a customised, case-by-case developmental grant scheme that channels a seed funding of $1,500 to take concrete steps towards their employment and saving goals. 

As opposed to conventional programmes that try to provide one solution for all eligible beneficiaries, this programme is individually tailored to each family’s specific aspirations and needs. This also helps to boost their morale and drive, and leverages into the beneficiary’s own strengths and interests in elevating their socio-economic circumstances. 81% of surveyed social workers felt their programme would be effective in helping over one-fifth of families living in rental flats in Singapore.

The team adds, “Throughout the competition, there were moments we had to confront and challenge our own beliefs and shift our mindsets in order to make EFI meaningful for the families onboard. We reminded ourselves to think beyond traditional perspectives to trust the families to make decisions that would be best for their own circumstances.”

Now that the team has won the competition, they are looking forward to scaling up the initiative to benefit more families by engaging different Social Service Agencies. They hope to implement a community of practice, allowing adopters of their idea to share experiences to facilitate this new way of working with low-income families.

In the future, the team hopes there will be more funding for empowering families towards their aspirations, in addition to meeting their immediate needs. They also hope to explore how more corporate entities can come together and co-create opportunities for these families. 

“We hope to see a sector that leverages and harnesses the assets of families more to improve their quality of lives and ‘invests’ in the families’ plans and goals, so we can enable their agencies and they can feel empowered to continue working on their plans towards a better life.The possibilities to ‘invest’ in low-income families are endless and we hope to work with more partners in the future in making this vision a reality,” they said.

Our team at the =Dreams Asia Breakthrough Prize are immensely proud of the journey our participants have completed. Thank you to all stakeholders and the public for your kind support throughout the year, and we hope that the spirit of helping those in need will continue spreading forth to make the world a better place. 

bottom of page