Former civil servant starts ‘creative accelerator’ to give children the right to fail and courage to imagine


We weren’t “teachers” teaching him what to do, we worked as colleagues on implementation, giving him space for personal responsibility and creativity. The result was amazing. The participants came from low-income families and some of them do not have a computer at home. But at the end of the workshop everyone had fun and could build their own virtual worlds.

It was heartwarming to see what a child can achieve when given the right space and support. Equally heartwarming, during the session one of the attendees raised their hand and asked if they could teach them a technique they also discovered along the way! It was unexpected, but of course as VIVITA we allowed it to happen. He got to the front lines and started showing off his newly learned skills to everyone. I also remember this boy’s happy and confident face.

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This story is special to me as it shows what we do: create an environment that allows children to feel comfortable, confident and curious.

WHAT DO YOU THINK MAKES VIVITA DIFFERENT FROM OTHER SOCIAL IMPACT ORGANIZATIONS?

There are many social organizations doing great work and I really respect anyone who puts their heart into creating the change they want to see. What makes VIVITA different is through what we do question and challenge the fundamental status quo of education. What is education anyway? What is a good learning environment? And what should children learn? We explore these questions through our work and hope that over time the impact will extend beyond the children we work with directly and into the broader educational ecosystem.

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For this reason, we do not address a specific social group. We believe education is a right, not a privilege, and what we do is inclusive, empowering children and young people of all backgrounds to create together.

LET’S GET BACK TO YOU A LITTLE BIT. WHAT MOVES YOU TO LEAVE THE PUBLIC SERVICE?

I wanted to take a different path and challenge myself. When I was a student, I decided to study in Japan because I wanted to learn Japanese to understand the Japanese role-playing games I was playing. At the same time, I didn’t want to follow the same path as the majority. The community service offered me many opportunities and I am grateful for the way I got there. And I think even now I carry some of the public service DNA with me in what I do, as I see that what I do benefits Singapore.

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WHO AND WHAT INSPIRES YOU?

Children, especially my daughter and son, inspire me. Seeing how they were born and watching them grow from babies to who they are now reminds me how fascinating human beings are. Being a parent and thinking about how they play and learn is a constant reminder to me that every child has great potential, that every child is different. Curious kids can learn so much.



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