CAREcottage Feature – YoungStarSG: Handcrafted cards and Orange Enzyme Cleaners

YoungStarSG caregiver Margaret Han and her daughter at the YoungStarSG booth, CAREcottage Bazaar on 17 March 2024 at Punggol Safra. Margaret’s son Cher Xuan is one of the youths with autism engaged by YoungStarSG.

CAREcottage is an initiative by CaringSG to support special needs caregivers who have started enterprises to support their dependants and themselves.

One of these enterprises, YoungStarSG, is a ground up initiative that helps youths/adults with autism to work from home, as a form of purposeful engagement and to earn an income. This article was contributed by Lim Wei Ping, a caregiver of a child with autism, and founder of YoungStarSG.

In 2018, my son’s SPED school was going to sell handicrafts made by the students and I was asked what Yang (my son) would like to make. I thought through all the possible artworks but had no idea what he could do at the level of his ability. As a result, I told the teacher that we would sit out this round.

It was at this moment, a classmate’s mother heard about this and offered to teach us die cutting, so that Yang and her son could create a handicraft together and have the means to make sufficient quantities collectively to sell at the fair.

After Yang tried making the die-cut artworks, I realised that if he could achieve beautiful handicrafts at his level, then other teens and adults with autism who were of similar or higher ability than him would also be able to craft and potentially develop even nicer designs.

I organised a group of special needs caregivers who were very proactive in engaging their teens and adults with autism, and taught them the basics. The group then learned together through YouTube and WhatsApp sharing. We started featuring their work on social media for sale and the rest is history.

Initially, YoungStarSG youths, guided by their caregivers, produced handcrafted greeting cards, bookmarks and gift tags for different festive seasons, be it cards for Christmas, Mothers’ and Fathers’ Day, birthdays, Thank You cards, corporate cards, wedding cards and encouragement bookmarks.

Many years later, we met an orange enzyme expert and she mentored us in the making and launching of the orange enzyme cleaner range of products. The orange enzyme is an all-purpose 100% biodegradable cleaner made from real orange peels and naturally fermented for 90 days. It naturally cleans dishes, laundry, floors, kitchen surfaces, bathrooms, windows, etc and even humans and pets (dog shampoo).

With community and public support, we now have 15 families under us producing handmade cards and orange enzyme cleaners. Full sales proceeds go directly back to the respective makers.

Corporate cards using various die-cut layered shapes
Teachers’ Day bookmarks with die-cut leaves
Labelling bottles of orange enzyme cleaners

In March 2024, we participated in our first CAREcottage Bazaar with CaringSG at SAFRA Punggol. It was a meaningful experience boothing with CaringSG – we had fun introducing YoungStarSG to the public and sharing about the special needs community with them while also hearing their stories. We are very grateful to CaringSG for the opportunity given to the special needs community.

When members of the public, organisations and MPs (Members of Parliament) tell us that they have heard of our brand name or have seen our work even before physically meeting us, it indicates that our autism advocacy efforts have paid off. We are honoured and grateful for the love from everyone.

To all special needs caregivers, I want to encourage you that neuroplasticity has proven that the brain continues to grow by use, at any age. Consistent engagement and exposure of our special needs child to new learnings will help them to improve continuously, even after they graduate out of special schools.

As long as you and your child are willing to learn and try, you are capable of creating beautiful works and bringing hope and joy to the community.

Learn more about YoungStarSG

Visit YoungStarSG’s social media pages to view stories of their special needs youths and handicrafts:

Customise handmade cards from YoungStarSG for your special occasion
Encourage your loved ones with YoungStarSG’s handcrafted bookmarks

Other Updates

Super Awesome Mum

Artist: Keok B (KB) Lim 林菊美

Current Bid: $2,000