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Meet Our Change Makers!

Our dedicated change makers have put in great effort in crafting their proposals, and were selected from over 63 submissions to be the 8 finalists of the =Dreams Asia Breakthrough Prize competition. It is heartening to see the diversity and creativity in these teams, channeling their unique perspectives and strategies towards the common goal of eradicating poverty in Singapore. Let’s meet these teams!


Team Leader: Cathy Siapno

Team Members: Iking Uy, Sheila Gonzales, and Pen Roque

Named after their company and led by their CEO, team A3A-APAC leverages on their strong communication background in their strategy for eradicating poverty. All team members are Filipinos, who wish to bring a fresh and unique perspective to the discussion. They hope to reframe mindsets towards those experiencing poverty, both from bystanders and by themselves, to emphasise their value and possible contributions towards society. By doing so, they want to encourage more participation and inclusion of those in need.


“Our team comes up with a lot of great ideas on a daily basis, so I believed a breakthrough idea was not a stretch for us to do!” - Cathy Siapno, A3A-APAC

Elevate The Streets

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Team Partners: Michael and Kahhow

This power-packed duo of 29-year-olds have known each other since primary school. They later reunited during national service, and are now joining forces to eradicate poverty in Singapore. Both passionate street dancers, team Elevate The Streets intends to use their knowledge and tap into their active communities to develop organic interest in their initiative. Their plan incorporates national education and youth development with street arts to introduce alternative pathways to success.


“As long as you keep trying, keep iterating, and keep passions alive, it will take you to good places,” - Team Elevate The Streets

Empowered Families Initiative

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Team Leader: Adriana

Team Members: Sonia Mariana and Palvindran

Team Empowered Families Initiative (or EFI for short) consists of individuals passionate about making a difference in their community. Their team leader is Adriana, who is a Community Development Practitioner, and both team members Sonia and Palvindran work in social service. These ex-colleagues who became friends have all had personal experiences with poverty in their lives, and hope to provide a more equal chance to succeed for all members of society. Their strategy is to tap into the assets and strengths of families in need to support them in improving their quality of lives on their own terms. This empowers them to take charge of their journey.


“We believe that these families are the experts of their own lives and have great potential to succeed. We hope to support them in ending the cycle of poverty and starting a cycle of new possibilities,” - Team Empowered Families Initiative


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Team Partners: John Ang, Arthur Ling (not pictured)

John teaches social work, and finds service gaps in the community and tries to address them. He evokes a desirable society for all and challenges his students to invest their life in a worthy cause of their choosing. John also leads a social service organisation (Fei Yue Community Services). He has provided social work and community work training in various ASEAN countries (Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos, Indonesia) under various auspices.


“Poverty action is not an occasional project. It is not a handout to the poor to help ends meet. Therefore, I am developing a national focal point for action on poverty. There will be a platform for policy discussion and advocacy, a clearinghouse for research and information sharing, one for corporate giving and participation, an incubator for citizen solutions and a biennial national assessment on the state of poverty in Singapore. The breakthrough action is knee-deep engagement with poor families UNTIL they achieve earnings above the prevailing cut-off point for Comcare support and are building up assets in terms of savings and/or have transitioned towards homeownership. Action to end poverty must become a national passion.” - John Ang

Lekker Architects

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Team Partners: Ong Ker-Shing and Joshua Comaroff

Ker-Shing and Comaroff have at least three things in common - they both studied at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, and are both teachers AND creators! Associate Professor Ong is an architect, educator, designer and baker, while Professor Comaroff is a designer. Together, they have crafted their own unique proposition to tackle the issue of poverty in Singapore. They propose a free, mobile school for creative skills in technology for children from under-resourced families, in efforts to provide more inclusive and fairer schooling. Beyond that, the school serves to help these families build social networks, gain employment opportunities, mentorships, and more.


“As long-time workers in the field of inclusive design, we feel that making room for those who are left out is ultimately in everyone’s interest. Not only does it make our lives richer, but it begins to open the existing world to the possibilities of newer and better ones,” - Team Lekker Architects


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Team Leader: Isabel Lim

Team Members: Terence Chiuh, Ong Bee Yong, David Leong and Lee Jue Ying

Team LIFT is ready to upLIFT the lives of those in need, and their team members bring diverse skill sets to the table for this common goal. Consisting of social service workers, entrepreneurs, a finance worker, and even a theatre and carpentry enthusiast formerly from the navy, this team is bursting with diversity and creativity. The team was inspired by families in need whom they visited. They hope to support them in rising above their circumstances to realise their aspirations. The mysterious team wishes not to share their strategy or proposal at this current stage, so we will have to stay tuned for more!


“Our strategy is to look beyond what everyone else is seeing. We want to uncover the root cause of poverty. Our dedicated team of varied abilities, including our diverse life and work experiences, will serve us well and allow us to complement each other effectively,” - Team LIFT

Team Lobang Lobang

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Team Leader: Poh Ling

Team Members: Xue Er, Bavani, Chavonne, Fang Xinwei

Team Lobang Lobang are colleagues from the same family service centre. As social workers and counsellors, they are no strangers to the struggles and life circumstances of those in need. As skilled listeners, analysts, and empowerers of those in need, they understand the difficulties and resources available to these families. They hope to build a community of mothers that can support each other in gaining employment, meet practical needs, and break out of the poverty cycle together through advocacy and social change.


“We hope that through this competition, we can identify the root causes of poverty and generate innovative ideas to resolve these issues,” - Team Lobang Lobang

Team Project Possible

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Team Leader: Valerie Teo

Team Members: Jess Tang, Sian Lee and Elvin Chua

Team Project Possible’s members met through school and common hobbies more than a decade ago. All members are passionate about giving back to society. In particular, Sian is an active volunteer and Jess has worked on projects with the Special Olympics. They believe eradicating poverty is ultimately a way to exercise individual and communal compassion, humility, creativity, and perseverance, while giving back to society through lending a hand to those in need. Their strategy includes establishing strong connections between those in need and the rest of the community through technology, to build a sense of belonging, community, and mutual progress.


“Don’t underestimate what you can do as an individual - changes come about from many baby steps forward!” - Team Project Possible

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