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National CAREConference 2023: Closing Address by Dr Lim Hong Huay

Closing Address by Dr Lim Hong Huay at the National CAREConference on 8 Dec 2023

Good afternoon, everyone. This is truly an honour to be here today. 

Ladies and gentlemen, caregivers and professionals, this is really a transformative event for all the caregivers in Singapore and I really want to thank you for being here today. 

This whole idea of a National CAREConference and CARECarnival actually started for me personally five years ago, In 2018, my child I have three children, two of them with special  needs the youngest, was diagnosed with autism and had to enter a special school. So, I had to give up my job and become a full-time caregiver.

At the same time, in the same year, my mother-in-law, a very close friend to me, was diagnosed with breast cancer. I went on this journey of full-time caregiving as a mother of children with special needs and also a caregiver to a person with dementia and breast cancer. At that point in time I really felt lost. Wow, there’re so many services to navigate, and there’re so many things I need to learn even as a professional (because I’m a doctor). 

I remember I was looking at the mental health and the elderly sector. There were conferences for caregivers or persons with elderly issues, mental health issues, but there wasn’t anything much for persons with disability. 

So in 2019 November, we gathered a group of caregivers and we did the first ever CARE Carnival right here in the Enabling Village. And that was a time that I made a wish. 

I wished that one day, caregivers of persons with disabilities, caregivers of persons with mental health conditions and caregivers of seniors can all come together in one platform, in one day, at one time, and one heart, to look at caregiving as a role, as someone who is important in this nation of Singapore. And we’re able to then work with the professionals, work with the different stakeholders to empower this whole community of caregivers. Not differentiated, not in silos and not cut apart by their dependant’s needs, but we caregivers as one holistic person.

So this is really a dream come true for me to be able to come here today and give this closing speech. Thank you everyone for coming here, to put your hearts and your brain and your lives together to celebrate caregiving and acknowledge the love that every caregiver gives to our dependants. 

For all the caregivers out there, we see you care. And we care for you, too. For all the professionals who are out there, thank you for coming together with caregivers to learn and grow together. And with this Together effort, Singapore can truly become a more inclusive and caring Singapore in the future.

This CAREConference, it’s so enriching in half a day and I’m just thinking to myself, how can we cram it so much in one day? I made a secret wish today that we will have more CARE Conferences in future and maybe longer (in duration) with more topics, so that we can have more cross-pollination and more learning.

What I learnt today is we really need to take a holistic, integrative and ecological approach. It’s not just dependant-centric, there is a caregiver-centric aspect as well when we help caregivers of persons with disabilities, mental health, or seniors. We must also look into the ecosystem and integrate the services to help these caregivers to navigate this lifelong journey of caregiving. 

Secondly, for professionals, while you care for caregivers and care for our loved ones, you have to care for yourself too. So as caregivers, all we need you to be is to be a friend. We need you to first come alongside with us and be our friend first. Please take care of yourself friend. And next, we need you to be resourceful and also be humble and learn together with us. So we can all learn together. We can learn about the different caregiving approaches, different frameworks and different learnings from the different sector.

For caregivers, this is a call to action. We can only make the future better if we are part of that creation process. For caregivers, if you are new, join a support group. If you’re an experienced caregiver, strengthen yourself, be knowledgeable, and come back and serve. There are many caregiver support organisations so we do look forward to you contributing, and volunteering and putting in your lives to enrich other lives. 

And lastly, for family and friends, you are really the sensor and the eyes out there for every caregiver. We need you to be there to bring any caregivers who are struggling to come into the sector. 

Thank you so much everyone for being with us today. 

Lastly, I want to have a shout out for the CARECarnivals coming in the next three Saturdays. Please come and continue this joyful celebration of caregiving and learning together in the next three Saturdays at our CARECarnivals in Enabing Village, Kampung Admiralty as well as Heartbeat@Bedok. I thank everyone for joining this National CAREConference.

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National CARECarnivals 2023 for all Caregivers in Singapore

National CARECarnivals 2023 for all Caregivers in Singapore

A wonderful 3,000 caregivers and their loved ones joined us at the CARECarnivals, organised by AIC Singapore, CaringSG, NCSS and SG Enable, at Enabling Village, Kampung Admiralty, Heartbeat@Bedok over the past three Saturdays. We were so happy to see caregivers from all walks of life coming with their care recipients to enjoy the carnival.

At the first CARECarnival held at Enabling Village, Minister Desmond Lee shared the progress we have made over the past few years together with caregivers, supporters and funders. The heartwarming stories of many caregivers, and CaringSG’s Project 3i support (including CAREbuddy and Step One) were showcased at the carnival via media interviews, exhibits, videos, books and more.

Caregivers could visit the various booths to learn about resources available to enable them in their caregiving journey, such as caring for their physical health, improving their mental health, and joining support groups/networks. There were interesting activities to engage families such as journaling, clay art, henna, DIY cardholder, giant bowling, and food stalls distributing kacang putih, ice cream and popcorn.

If you’re a special needs caregiver looking to connect with other caregivers and support groups, join us at

Being a CaringSG member enables you to access our CAREconnect monthly webinars, request for CAREbuddy emotional support, check out other resources in our members’ portal, and receive regular email updates from us on upcoming events, member perks and services that are developed and curated for special needs caregivers and families.

Check out our social posts for more photos!

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Transition from Preschool & EIPIC to Primary School

Transition from Preschool & EIPIC to Primary school

Transitioning to primary school is a significant milestone for any child, and it can be especially challenging for caregivers and special needs children as environments, people and routines change significantly.

As a caregiver who has experienced this journey firsthand, I had the benefit of receiving guidance and emotional support during this transition which eased my son’s journey through uncertainty.

In this article, I’ll share some practical tips to help fellow caregivers navigate the path from preschool and Early Intervention Program for Infants and Children (EIPIC) to primary school so that you and your special needs child can prepare for this transition. This applies for both sons and daughters.

Tips for transition from preschool and EIPIC to primary school

1. Start Early Preparation
Begin the transition process well in advance. Visit the new school, meet the teachers, and familiarize your child with the new environment. If your child’s preschool or EIPIC classmates also happen to be attending the same primary school, letting him know could ease his anxiety.

2. Involve Your Child

Empower your child by involving them in the preparation process. Allow him to choose a backpack, school supplies, or even a special comfort item to bring to school. This involvement fosters a sense of ownership and encourages him to look forward to the new school.

3. Build routines for Primary School 
Consistency and familiarity helps our children adjust to a new routine. Ease him into his new Primary School routine in advance, especially during the weeks leading up to the transition. Gradually introduce changes in daily activities to help your child adapt to the new schedule.

Ideas to try:

  • Let him wear the school uniform a few days before school starts to help him get used to the sensory stimulus of the material. Teach him how to button and unbutton clothes, and manage zippers during toilet breaks or changing clothes. Purchase shoes with velcro if he is not confident of tying shoelaces.
  • Provide opportunities for him to pack and unpack his new bag and pencil case so he knows where his items should be kept.
  • Allow him to spend small amounts of money at the local coffee shop and teach him how to count the change.
  • Recce the school and route to and from the school so he knows what to expect every day.
  • Practise sitting in a classroom setting. Some EIPIC centers recreate classroom settings to enable children to figure out where to place their belongings, what to expect in the classroom, how the teacher may use a whiteboard or other teaching aids, and expected behaviour in class
  • Do a test run of a typical school day, from waking up early in the morning, going to school, and back home.

4. Storify and visualize
Source for social stories online (or create your own) and draw up a visual schedule for the various tasks your child will go through. Use simple language, photos, videos and visuals to explain the changes your child will encounter, including the new school, teachers, and classmates. Revisit the social stories frequently and let him explain the stories back to you to reinforce his learning.

Examples of social stories:

  • Preparing for school: brushing teeth, wearing uniform and shoes, ensuring bag and water bottle are brought along
  • Travelling to school: bus or MRT routes, drop-off points, walking to classroom or hall, time management
  • Attending school: name of teachers and class, location of classroom, expected behavior in classroom, asking for toilet breaks, how to talk to classmates
  • Going home: pick-up points, bus or MRT routes, time management
  • Other school matters: homework routine, packing his bag neatly for the next day, having a conversation with you about school
  • Emergencies: who to call when he feels sick or gets lost by accident, who he can approach for immediate help
  • Socializing: how to make friends, appropriate vs inappropriate touch, dealing with bullying, how to manage emotions

5. Communication with Teachers
Arrange a parent-teacher meeting with your child’s new teachers before school starts if possible, or early in the school year. Share information about your child’s strengths, challenges, and any specific needs they may have. These meetings provide an opportunity to discuss your child’s unique needs, share insights from their preschool experiences, and establish a plan for a smooth transition.

You can ask your child’s EIPIC center to prepare a useful list of information about your child to share with the primary school teachers. Share visuals or routines with the new teachers that could help them anticipate and manage your child positively in the classroom. Ask for feedback and follow-up meetings to check on your child’s transition.

6. Prepare for Sensory Challenges
If your child has sensory sensitivities, work with the new school to create a sensory-friendly environment. Discuss potential triggers and effective strategies to address sensory challenges, ensuring your child feels comfortable and supported.

For example, as my son is a visual learner and may not pick up auditory cues when the teacher is addressing the class, the teacher paired him with a friendly classmate who would tap on my son’s shoulder as a physical cue to look at the teacher. She also let him sit near the front of the class so he would not be distracted visually by other movements.

As my son is also sensitive to sudden, loud sounds, we informed the teacher of his reactions and how to calm him down if he encountered loud sounds due to thunderstorms, construction or unexpected shouting. We also took time to explain to him how he could calm himself down with reference to the Zones of Regulation concept that he learnt in EIPIC.

7. Foster Peer Relationships
Encourage the development of friendships with his peers and foster positive social interactions by organizing playdates, participating in school events, and collaborating with teachers to facilitate inclusive activities. Being able to meet and chat with other parents can also teach us new skills and tips to apply to our challenges.

8. Celebrate Achievements
Celebrate both small and big achievements throughout the transition process. Positive reinforcement boosts your child’s confidence and helps create a positive association with the new school environment, his classmates and teachers, and enjoy learning.

We celebrated the baby steps towards independence, such as buttoning and unbuttoning uniform, noting down homework diligently, learning the names of his friends, playing soccer with other classmates during recess, saving up extra change from recess, helping out with class duties, and looking forward to attending school.

Enjoy the journey!

Transitioning from preschool and EIPIC to primary school for our special needs children requires thoughtful planning, communication, and collaboration with new partners. I hope that these tips will help you and your child enjoy this significant milestone of growing up. 

Be patient with your child, and yourself as well. Have fun and enjoy bonding together; having a positive attitude towards the new phase will influence your child too. 

Break down tasks into baby steps and pace yourself; you have gotten this far in life, and you can reach your next stage with consistent efforts.

– Julia Chan, caregiver of a boy who transited from preschool and EIPIC to Primary School

Learn more via CaringSG Webinars

CaringSG has run several webinars with tips and resources from professionals and caregivers on transiting your child from EIPIC to Primary School. These webinars and resources can be accessed by logging into our Members’ Portal > Profile > Video Resources.


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The Purple Parade 2023: A Spectacular Showcase of Care and Inclusivity

The Purple Parade 2023: A Spectacular Showcase of Care and Inclusivity

The Purple Parade 2023, held on November 4th, was a heartwarming celebration of inclusion and support for individuals with special needs, their caregivers, and supporters. To stand in support with caregivers and their families, CaringSG participated in our second Purple Parade this year.

CaringSG’s Purple Parade Activities

CaringSG staff and volunteers prepared a colourful booth with touching quotes submitted during 2022 Purple Parade slogan quest

One of our signature features of the Purple Parade 2023 were the beautiful CAREcottage handicrafts by talented artisans. These intricately crafted items, lovingly made by caregivers and their care recipients with special needs, showcased their creativity and artistic skills.

CaringSG’s dinosaur mascots brought smiles to many caregivers

Visitors had the opportunity to browse and purchase these unique handicrafts, supporting the cause and taking home a piece of artistry that reflected the spirit of inclusivity. 

Our Uplift! Book, a project by CaringSG, was another highlight of the event. This beautifully crafted coffee table book encapsulates the incredible collaboration between local artist Chia Choy Ping, Lee Jun Le, an extraordinary individual with autism, with poems from Assoc Prof (Dr) Kenny Tan.

In addition, it features a collection of heartwarming stories and experiences shared by caregivers, an inspiring testament to the strength, love, and resilience of the caregiving community. Copies of this book were available for attendees to peruse, offering insight into the lives of those who are dedicated to caring for their loved ones.

From left: Edward Lim (Head of Corp Services and CAREconnect Lead), Faraliza Zainal (CAREchampion and Founder of MIJ Hub), Tan Pei Cheng (CAREchampion Lead) and Dr Lim Hong Huay (Founder and Honorary CEO of CaringSG) in front of the “Spur On, Caregivers” wall
Supporters penning down encouragement for caregivers for our “Spur On, Caregivers” wall

At the heart of our Purple Parade booth, there was a “Spur On, Caregivers” wall where many people penned down their heartfelt words of encouragement for caregivers. This wall served as a powerful symbol of solidarity and appreciation for the unwavering dedication of caregivers, a testament to the fact that caregivers are not alone in their journey and that their efforts are valued and celebrated.

Group photo of the Purple Parade marching contingent by CaringSG Ltd and BlackRock Singapore Ltd
We’re so happy to be a part of Purple Parade!

The Purple Parade 2023 also saw a strong show of support from the marching contingent by CaringSG Ltd and BlackRock Singapore Ltd. a prominent organization that believes in the power of inclusivity. The marching contingent comprised our community of caregivers, their families, and supporters from BlackRock and the public.

How You Can Support Special Needs Caregivers

Beyond the Purple Parade, CaringSG relies on the generosity of supporters and organizations to continue our mission of connecting, enabling and empowering special needs caregivers.

We welcome you to learn more about the caregiver services we offer by visiting our website to read more about CAREconnect, CAREbuddy and CAREwell. Here, you’ll find comprehensive information on our various services and resources available to caregivers to support them on their journey.

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Be Kind to Yourself; You Are Doing Your Best Every Day

Be Kind to Yourself; You Are Doing Your Best Every Day

Hello, how have you been? 🙂 I hope you have been doing well.

2023 has been a year filled with wonderful opportunities to meet new caregivers from our recent pilot constituencies, and to catch up with familiar faces. Oftentimes, I receive thanks from our caregivers after they attend our physical events — being able to spend time outside of the house with one’s family and having opportunities to interact with others can be a welcome respite.

These same caregivers, and you as well, are also an inspiration to me. Seeing how each of you navigates challenges with an unwavering amount of strength, determination, and love has reminded me that no matter how daunting something might seem, progress can still be made in small, baby steps.

However, you cannot pour from an empty cup; self-care is a necessary part of being an effective caregiver. It is perfectly okay to pamper yourself to something you’d like to do, prioritise rest and lean on others when you feel weary. I also hope that you remain kind to yourself – parenting has never been an easy feat and I’m sure that you are doing the best that you can every day.

May the remainder of 2023 treat you kindly, and I hope to see you in 2024 🙂


With love,
Elysia Poh, Program & Research Executive (CAREconnect)

To be updated on CaringSG’s latest events and join your preferred caregiver support groups in our CaringSG Alliance Network (CAN), sign up as a CaringSG member and let us know your preference!

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CaringSG Community Events from June to September 2023

CaringSG Community Events from June to September 2023

Caregivers and families at a Lasting Power of Attorney Certification Event

Over the past 4 months, CaringSG has continued to run events focusing on a variety of topics such as art therapy, LPA, trishaw rides and a special treat to a local performance.

The events were kindly sponsored by the Enabling Lives Initiative (ELI) Grant (funded by Tote Board and managed by SG Enable) and Temasek Foundation.

Here’s what caregivers and families have enjoyed!

Art Therapy for Caregivers on 3 Jun 2023 at Telok Blangah Community Club

An art therapy session was held on 3 Jun 2023 at the Telok Blangah Community Club for caregivers to have an overview of using art therapy to benefit their self-care and emotional well-being. A certified, professional art therapist was engaged to share with participants on how to express and articulate one’s feelings and thoughts, and also to share one’s lived experiences through art, in a safe space.

The two-hour session provided caregivers with the basic knowledge on how to use this alternative therapy to enhance their emotional and mental well-being.

A total of 7 caregivers and a special needs dependent turned up for the therapy session from 10am to 12pm, with the support from 3 CAREkakis, 3 CaringSG staff and volunteers, and 1 CAREchampion.

LPA Certification at Telok Blangah Community Club (17 Jun 2023) and Toh Guan View RC (24 Jun 2023)

The Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document which allows a person who is at least 21 years of age to voluntarily appoint one or more persons to make decisions and act on his/her behalf if they lose their mental capacity one day.

Understanding the importance of LPA, CaringSG conducted two LPA certification sessions for caregivers on 17 June 2023 and 24 June 2023 at the Telok Blangah Community Club (8 caregivers) and Toh Guan View RC (13 caregivers) under Bukit Batok East CCC respectively, with support from Extra•Ordinary People.


Caregivers who wished to enjoy the ease of getting their LPAs certified by professionals for free could first prepare their LPAs draft online before coming down on the actual day to have their drafts reviewed and certified by the Certificate Issuer on the spot.

For each event, 4 CAREkakis and 4 CaringSG staff and volunteers supported, with an additional CAREchampion supporting the Telok Blangah event. The events were also kindly sponsored by the Enabling Lives Initiative (ELI) Grant (funded by Tote Board and managed by SG Enable) and Temasek Foundation.

A Great Day for a Trishaw Ride at Jurong Lake Gardens (8 Jul 2023 and 9 Sept 2023)

We had outdoor fun and get-together when we organised 2 trishaw ride events for caregivers and their families on 7 Jul 2023 and 9 Sep 2023 respectively.

Partnering Boon Lay CCC, Bukit Batok East CCC, Kampong Glam CCC, Telok Blangah CCC and Cycling Without Age Singapore, both events were held at the ActiveSG Park @ Jurong Lake Gardens where a total of 11 caregivers and 9 dependents could all come together to enjoy a splendid day filled with fun, laughter and unity. It was also a good opportunity to use trishaws as an intervention tool to enhance socio-emotional well-being!

Besides sweating it out on the trishaws, caregivers were also able to engage in lively conversations with other caregivers over an array of light table games and refreshments thereafter. The success of the Trishaw ride events were made possible with our sponsors and partners and not forgetting our 6 CAREkakis and 3 CAREchampions who came to help out on 7 Jul 2023, and 6 CAREkakis, 5 CaringSG staff and volunteers, and 3 CAREchampions who came to help out on 9 Sep 2023.

A Story of Batu Bulat on 19 Aug 2023

10 caregivers and 10 special needs dependents were treated to a performance entitled “A Prince, An Explorer and A Girl” at the Esplanade Theatre Studio on 19 Aug 2023 (Saturday) in partnership with Boon Lay CCC, Bukit Batok East CCC, Kampong Glam CCC and Telok Blangah CCC.

The story was about a prince, an explorer and a girl who lived on the idyllic island of Batu Bulat. Whilst each of them led their own exciting life, which at first glance seemed as different as night and day, they soon found out that they were more similar than they were different.

As it was a Relaxed Environment (RE) performance, it was suitable for persons with autism and/or sensory sensitivities. In addition, it was a text-based performance that required children and their adults to figure out what really happened at Batu Bulat by watching and listening closely to each character’s story.

Both the caregivers and their dependents were able to experience an adventure together with the characters on stage, who took them on different paths to ultimately lead them to understanding what empathy is and that there is always more than one perspective to any story.  The play was an excellent opportunity to introduce the idea of putting oneself in someone else’s position and feeling what they were feeling to build respectful and caring relationships.

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Choose to Seek and Celebrate the Good – By Rachel Fong

Choose to Seek and Celebrate the Good
By Rachel Fong

A precious meal – a tray of toy food – prepared by the author's children for her

“My child has made me a better person.”

This seemed like a simple line yet it spoke so much. When I heard this from a caregiver of a child with special needs, I was touched, inspired, and grateful.

We serve our dependents everyday, pouring our time, effort, care and love into their lives to support them and make them better. How precious and humbling it is, to see it from a different perspective, that our dependents have made us better, just by their presence in our lives and our journey with them.

Every day may not be good, but there is good in every day. In tough seasons of caregiving when we are struggling and exhausted, the mindset of gratitude and appreciation can make a difference in our personal wellness and relationships.

I can choose to remember the meltdowns, the mess, the mistakes, the cries and screams, the demands and chaos, or I can choose to remember the tray of toy food that my young children prepared and served up to me with big smiles, just as I finished whipping up a quick meal for them in the midst of a million other things I had to do.

Thank you caregivers for your resilience, for always choosing to seek and celebrate the good in the midst of everyday challenges.

– Rachel Fong, Program & research executive (CAREbuddy & CAREwell), and caregiver of two children

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While the Path is Less Travelled, You Never Have to Walk Alone – By CAREchampion Lead Tan Pei Cheng

While the Path is Less Travelled, You Never Have to Walk Alone –
By CAREchampion Lead Tan Pei Cheng

CAREchampion Lead Tan Pei Cheng with CaringSG (first 3 photos), and her family (bottom right)

Many of us, as caregivers, have had our fair shares of emotional coaster rides.

As a working mother of 3 boys, my second son was diagnosed with moderate autism when he was 3 years old. Since then, I have been on a journey of discovery, learning, coping with feelings of disappointment, denial, anger, hope and many more. In the initial stages, I remembered vividly the loneliness and helplessness, often taking the easy way out of putting the blame on “fate”.  For a long time, I did not know how to process my emotions.

A simple act of joining a mother’s network group organised by my son’s pre-school opened my eyes. For the first time, I felt that I was not alone. There were other parents, struggling and learning just like me. I saw the challenges they faced and the fighting spirit in each of them, driven by the love for their children. I learned from them that only through acceptance, would I be able to give my son the support he needed. The sharing opened my heart, and the empathy and listening ears from them gave me courage to go on with the demands of daily life.

This is exactly why, when I met Dr Lim Hong Huay through my husband 2 years ago and knew about CaringSG, I offered to be a volunteer as I was inspired by CaringSG’s vision. Before volunteering at CaringSG, I had limited knowledge of the challenges and difficulties of caregivers, especially adult PWDs in Singapore.

I started as a CAREconnect lead with a rudimentary understanding that “I will do outreach and call caregivers for events.” Then, this role was to me was a simple connecting of people together and providing them the opportunity to form a network of support. I thought I was contributing to help, but little did I realise how it would benefit and enrich me too!

In the 2 years with CaringSG, I have always been supported by the lovely folks of CaringSG and feel very welcomed. It was fun to plan the events with the CAREkakis, CAREchampions and the Grassroots leaders. It was very rewarding to get to know caregivers through the activities.

At the beginning, when my calls or follow-ups to caregivers were met with silence, I was disappointed and even felt it hilarious when I was suspected as a scammer (LOL!). The silver lining came when caregivers acknowledged my messages and actually took the effort to show up. Slowly, some caregivers shared photos of their children spontaneously, and sent words of appreciation and greetings that I never expected. My moment of glory came when one of the photos I took for a CaringSG event was featured in The Straits Times! 😊

I benefitted personally with the strong network in CaringSG. Last year, my son started displaying aggressive behaviour as he entered teenagehood. I was disheartened with my inability to handle his meltdowns and outbursts. This, to an extent, affected me at work too. Fellow caregiver Edward Chan and Dr Lim gave me contacts to seek professional help for him, and since then, he has improved and so has my quality of life.

As caregivers of PWDs, we have a lot to offer and to share in our experiences, especially to younger parents who are going through this journey and do not know what to do or where to seek support. 

To my fellow caregivers, instead of passively waiting for things to get better, step forward to give and you will be rewarded with the least expected.

“Those who bring sunshine to the lives of others, cannot keep it from themselves” ~James Matthew Barrie

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MindChamps Allied Care Group Pledges 20% of Net Profits to CaringSG: Empowering Communities through Philanthropy

MindChamps Allied Care Group Pledges 20% of Net Profits to CaringSG: Empowering Communities through Philanthropy

MindChamps Allied Care Group’s Chairman, Mr. David Chiem (left) and CaringSG’s Board Chair Dr Lim Hong Huay (right)

In a significant step towards supporting special needs caregivers and their families, MindChamps Allied Care Group has announced it will donate 20% of the company’s net profits to CaringSG.

On 6 July 2023, CaringSG’s Board Chair Dr Lim Hong Huay and MindChamps Allied Care Group’s Chairman, Mr. David Chiem, signed a pledge that would span the next five years and aims to fund various programmes and initiatives undertaken by CaringSG to connect, enable and empower special needs caregivers.

By donating a significant portion of their profits, MindChamps Allied Care Group seeks to amplify the impact of CaringSG’s initiatives across various areas in caregivers’ lives and contribute to the development and implementation of programmes that address pressing caregiver issues and foster sustainable change.

MindChamps Allied Care Group’s Chairman David Chiem said, “From the very beginning MindChamps’ Social Charter has been to: ‘challenge and lift education standards globally and to provide education to those who don’t have the means.’ So, we are honoured to contribute to this vitally important cause.”

CaringSG’s Board Chair Dr Lim Hong Huay commented, “CaringSG is deeply grateful to Mr David Chiem and MindChamps for the generosity to our work. Many caregivers and their loved ones will benefit from this collaboration in the years to come. We look forward to more areas of collaboration in the years ahead.”

Read more about CaringSG’s services for caregivers here.

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Be the Writer of the Lives We Choose to Live By – By Diana Lim

be the writer of the lives we choose to live by - By Diana Lim

Diana is working at CaringSG as a volunteer management and events support executive. She has 2 lively boys who are currently studying at Pathlight School.

“Only we ourselves, can be the writer of the lives we choose to live by. As a special needs caregiver, I choose to embrace it with an open mind and a willing heart.”

When my elder son was born, the entire family was practically on cloud nine as he was the golden grandson, the precious one. Any hint of suspicion that this precious boy might be facing any developmental delays or falling out of “range” was brushed aside. However, as the issues persisted, the instinct to quickly start speech therapy, occupational therapy and customized educational program took over. Imagine doing all this while holding a big tummy with number 2 in tow…

I would never have imagined that I would be blessed with not one, but two special needs children!

For many of us who often questioned why our child is so different from other special needs kids, take it from me when I say that autism is indeed a broad spectrum. With the same home and school environment, same parenting style, the two brothers were polar opposites when it came to their tolerance level to schedule changes, learning preferences, cognitive abilities, and many others.

I’ve since then learned to unlearn the so-called correct ways of handling autistic challenges. To put down my expectations as a mother so deeply invested in their well-being. To let them be themselves so they can gradually carve their unique identity as special individuals in spite of their neurological impediments.  To have a willing heart, and an open mind.

These are some pointers that I can share as a caregiver, someone who has been blessed with good spousal and family support, practical and emotional resource pool, as well as a great network of people who simply understands.

  • Always look for the simple things to be thankful for despite how the day or ‘night’ has turned out to be.
  • Learn from others to see if their strategies are applicable to our children/dependents at their current stage. At other times, be ready to let go of things which do not fit into their psyche.
  • Find several support groups that can serve various needs – it can be like-minded friends, parents support groups, playdate groups, hangout groups, etc. And just like friendships, they may come and go as our seasons of life change. It’s okay; be open to forming new ones.
  • It’s okay to not be okay. It’s absolutely normal to feel vulnerable. By being able to rough out bad times and reach out to lifeline help available to us, we are in turn building our own emotional resilience. Imagine what a good real-life experience it would be when we share how we coped and learned from our past experiences with our special needs loved ones!

As special needs caregivers, conquering the day is not always about this amazing feat or that significant improvement. It is more often than not, being able to achieve some form of peace in the never-ending daily noise and action.

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