Photo credit: KOH HEER LIN


Youth Action Challenge (YAC) is a platform for youth to provide solutions that tackle the issues we are concerned about. Since October 2021, over 80 teams and more than 310 youths have undertaken the YAC Season 3 journey.

Heer Lin,18, is a student from Hwa Chong Institution who enjoys volunteering with different groups of people. She regularly works with children, people with mental health conditions, as well as the elderly.

As part of the YAC, she and her group worked on a project targeted at improving the lives of seniors with dementia called FamiliarVoice. Today she shares more about the work that she does!

What was your role within your YAC project?

As a member of FamiliarVoice, my main role was to be responsible for administrative matters, as well as liaising with external organisations (e.g. senior activity centres and dementia organisations), as well as booking timings with our mentors. In the team, we also all took part in brainstorming to further refine our ideas and make them more impactful and more suited for the elderly.

What motivated you to join YAC?

I wanted to step out of my comfort zone and try something new! As a student, I spend a lot of time in school and most of the community projects that I partake in are also quite structured by the school. YAC also provides a more realistic environment that school cannot.

Apart from that, after spending more time with external volunteering groups to serve the children, I realised that I wanted to have more opportunities to work with people outside of school and widen my perspectives.

Furthermore, I had a chance to dabble in entrepreneurship as part of a school event in 2019, and that pushed me to further my interests in the topic. Also, YAC allows me to turn my ideas into solutions, and make actual, practical impact with tangible results, and I think that’s really special.

Can you share with us your experience with your YAC project?

My experience with my YAC project has been a huge rollercoaster. Since I signed up for the programme alone, I needed to first find a group whose interests aligned with mine. After finding a group, we needed to brainstorm and refine our ideas to better suit that of an impact-driven business idea.

Apart from that, I also had a lot of enriching workshops (albeit sometimes a little too confusing for my brain to comprehend) learning about different business techniques and marketing solutions, and gained a better understanding of how to design a solution that can, and will work. Finally, I was honoured to represent my group during the final open pitch.

What are some challenges you faced while working on your YAC project?

A challenge would definitely be understanding how the market works and translating that knowledge into practical skills to design a solution that will be welcomed. Although I did have the chance to learn some things about entrepreneurship, there were still very realistic,  adulting issues that I found difficult to grasp, for example, budgeting and finances.

Apart from that, communicating your idea to others and persuading people to give your idea a chance also proved to be a challenge, especially if the idea is a new one without traction. Lastly, balancing academics and an impact-driven project can also be difficult, especially since JC academics can be hectic during exam periods.

Could you share more on how your project has a positive impact?

As Singapore’s population rapidly ages, dementia has also silently sneaked up on many of our elderly, wreaking havoc in not just their lives, but also the lives of their family members and caregivers. FamiliarVoice hopes to be a reminder system that seniors living alone with dementia can take on to improve the quality of their lives, be it through reminding them to take their medication, or just simple household reminders.

However, FamiliarVoice isn’t just a simple reminder system, but instead makes use of human touch to let the users receive reminders in the form of their caregiver’s voice played through a speaker, making them feel less isolated and lonely. Apart from just targeting the patients of dementia, our project also aims to reduce the burden on caregivers, allowing them to spend more meaningful and relaxing time with their patients. While our project still needs further refining, FamiliarVoice hopes to bring more warmth in our seniors’ lives, and lighten our caregivers’ lives.

Were there any key takeaways or learning points from your time with YAC?

Compared to others in the program, I have a lot less experience in terms of creating a solution that can actually be implemented in a real world situation, where many factors come into play and make things a lot more complicated and complex. Not being afraid to clarify, and learning humbly really allowed me to broaden my perspectives quickly and spot my own blind spots while considering new possibilities.

Apart from just learning how to set up an impact-driven solution, asking others proactively also allows you to design a solution that really works for your target audience. Without proper communication and seeking advice from the people that you talk to, you’ll never be able to design something that really works for them. After all, those being impacted are the ones that truly know what they want, and need the most.

This article was published on Apr 4, 2022

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