21 | 01 | 2018

She came, she inspired, she conquered our hearts….

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Kiran bir SethiShe set the young minds ablaze with the zeal to make a difference; she engaged educators to explain why design-led thinking can add immense value to our education system; and proved her point with hard core facts & figures to the thought leaders in the Singapore’s education sector.

Kiran Bir Sethi, founder of Design for Change Program, visited Singapore, hosted by SoCh, to meet students, teachers and policy makers with a goal to empower design-led social change where every student says I CAN’ instead of ‘CAN I?’

Kiran, recently chosen as one of 12 Thought Leaders of the World and also the founder of Riverside School in Ahmedabad, has many accolades and awards to her name in her pursuit of making education holistic.

If you missed hearing her voice here is 938Live! radio interview podcast : 938Live! Radio Interview 14th May

"Can I?” to “I Can!”

kiran with the kids in singapore

In an interactive session with students from 9 schools, Kiran shared how children in India stopped child marriages in their village, addressed issue of packaged foods in Bhutan and took the task of cleaning their beaches in Brazil.

Change stories of children from around the world galvanised the young present into speaking about their own dreams and aspirations for making their mark in this world. And they sure want to make a difference, even if it is their own small way.

Your support could do wonders

A room full of principals, policy makers, and senior faculty listened intently to Kiran’s simple yet profound thoughts on whether education today is preparing our kids for the future.  Kiran reinforced how they can play a crucial role in teaching kids to think, develop skills needed for today and giving them the freedom to choose in order to create curious, competent future citizens.

Kiran demonstrated her deep belief that every child has the potential to bring about social change if only we believe in them. Kiran explains. "The 21st century skills are not a separate syllabus - it becomes embedded in their everyday life. And when children do good, they also do well."

Raffles Institution was invited to share how their DFC project ‘smile for cleaners’ helped sensitize their schoolmates and teachers to the plight of hardworking but unsung heroes.  The DFC process involved many aspects of learning from research, analytical skills, design-thinking process, and implementation, re-doing & re-fining and sharing in many ways.

Jaspal Kaur, CIP teacher from Pasir Ris Primary and Mr Mark Minjoot, principal of Greendale Secondary joined in to share their experiences with DFC Singapore in the last two years. 

Kiran addressing the principals & educators  

‘education by design and not by chance’ – a social conversation with Kiran : the session was held in collaboration with Lien Centre for Social Innovation

 Responding to a question from the audience on empowering children, Kiran said:

 "The kids have to feel it themselves," she reiterated, “and it's not about ticking off a checklist of projects, or having children parrot issues that adults tell them about. They have to engage with their community, see the real needs and feel for the issue, in order to develop genuine empathy. This could even be as simple as allowing a visually handicapped boy to touch the faces of all those around him for the first time (a DFC project from the Experimental Elementary School in Taiwan).”

Design for Change became a by-product of the Riverside School syllabus; and has since gone global, reaching 35 countries, 300,000 schools and 25 million children.

The Design for Change (DFC) Competition 2012

Since 2010, the local SoCh team has been engaging schools in their efforts to bring this movement to a higher level in Singapore. As at end 2011, SoCh saw over 450 participants from 27 schools taking part their various annual programs during the academic year.  Read more www.SoChinAction.com

Can you?

As a society & as adults we have a role to play in making today’s child a socially responsible citizen of tomorrow.  Can you do to help? Of course You Can!

Whether you are a student, educator, corporate organisation, policy maker or just anybody who would like to help us with this movement, we welcome you to be part of SoCh. (www.SoChinAction.com)

Together We Can!Kiran inspires kids to say 'I CAN'

Teachers, can you play a part in empowering these young minds to say ‘I CAN’ instead of ‘Can I?’

You can!

Enrol your school for next year’s program.

Write to Neha on neha@sochinaction.com to express your interest. 

Forward this to your friends or family if you think that They Can!

Join us and be our friends on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/SoChinAction

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Raffles Institution - Smile for The Cleaners

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Cleaners were not appreciated enough for their effort


1.Holding a cleanliness competition for the classrooms.

2.Putting up posters around the school campus to increase awareness of school cleaners


We are implementing a solution to help to solve this problem and try to raise awareness for and increase the appreciation for the contributions and works of the cleaners in our school. Firstly, we plan to put up profiles of some of the cleaners in the form of posters. Besides their age, we will also put in the cleaners’ pay. Some other posters would be simpler, just simply encouraging all, doesn’t matter whether student or staff, to smile for the cleaners. We felt that these posters would be effective especially for the students, as most of the cleaners are as old as their parents. Hence the students can picture their parents in the cleaner’s place, hunched over, sweeping the floor, constantly being ignored. This will encourage students to sympathize with the cleaners, and hence appreciating their efforts and making life easier for them.

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Clementi Primary School - Handling PSLE pressure

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We feel that our school is underachieving in terms of PSLE academic results, and the main reason for that is that our P6 pupils are not diligent enough when it comes to studies.  We analysed the problem for its root causes and we all agreed that the slacking behaviour of P6 pupils are directed by their poor attitudes towards studies, and that could in turn be caused by low self-esteem or adverse situations at home or in school.


We thought of giving motivational talks and setting up some booths during recess to promote good learning attitudes.  Some of the activities at these booths can include designing a revision template or personal timetable.  We also thought of presenting a song that will inspire pupils to work hard.  Other ideas include making bookmarks with motivational quotes for P6 students.


We decided on first giving a motivational talk to convince our P6 pupils on WHY they should change their attitude.  We decided to collaborate with our Principal who would be giving a pep talk to our P6s before their Prelim exams.  We met up with her on 26 July and showed her the motivational powerpoint we prepared.  Two days later, we got a few eloquent classmates to present the slides to the P6s after which our Principal took over and reinforced our message.  The following week, we gave another presentation on HOW the P6s could change their attitude.  That included tips on how revision should be done.  Then we collected well wishes from pupils of other levels to encourage our P6s.  The well wishes were typed out on powerpoint and screened on the two broadcasting TVs in our school all day.  We also consulted our School Counsellor and gave all P6s a mini booklet on mental health issues such as stress management.

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Global Indian International School - Hail,CABtain!

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* Fun filled day ends with a long wait for taxi.

* Shopping centre visit & wait with heavy bags.

* Dad has urgent appointment and taxis don’t stop.

* An overseas trip begins with an anxious taxi wait.

The common problem: “Not getting taxis when needed”


* Reasons: Is it due to lack of knowledge about taxi hailing procedure?

* Are we waiting at the wrong places?

* Can we interview the passengers?

* Interview taxis drivers?

* Complain to authorities if service is bad?

* How about this positive approach?

Educate and Appreciate!


Our solution

* Made posters and presented in assembly to educate students.

* Designed the info card & Thank you note.

* All the primary and K2 students coloured the ‘Thank you cards’.

* We laminated, cut, punched a hole, tied strings – The beautiful cards for cabbies were ready!

* Distributed to the students- around 800 cards in all . Teachers & staff  joined us too. They spread the word to their friends and relatives. We gave the cards to school guests and also asked GIIS East Coast and Queenstown friends to spread the message.

* Taxi drivers received the cards with great joy. Some even offered discounts to children. An announcement was done in the assembly not to accept discounts. We just want to appreciate them!

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Raffles Institution - Promoting Social Graciousness in Trains

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The problem that we were trying to change was that the people of our society are not willing to give up the priority seats to the needy


The first idea that we had was to seclude a cabin in every MRT for the needy. However, we thought that this was not very feasible so we went on to come up with out final idea to work with SMRT to award those that give up their seats to encourage such considerate behavior


See how we attempted to solve this problem

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Bukit Panjang Primary - Endangered Sharks

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We wanted to reduce the number of people killing sharks for their fin


Facebook page and a short video


We did a powerpoint slide about sharks. After that we decided not to eat shark’s fin soup as it is tasteless and cruel. We have learn that sharks are actually harmless. They actually do not want to eat us but mistook us as their favourite foods.

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DFC 2011 Winners Interview on 938Live !

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Five school teams from Design for Change 2011 program were interviewed by Sarah Cheng-De Winne from 938 Live! section ‘They are making a difference’ and were broadcast in December 2011.  If you missed it hear their podcast.

PSLE Pressure: Motivational talk for the students by the students(Listen)
Clemeti Primary School’s 11-year olds Oli Winter and and Sun Shu Wei from Clementi Primary talk about their initiative to give motivational talks for their Primary 6 Seniors. 

Tutoring P1 student to adapt to school system & social skills(Listen)
Anchor Green Primary School’s 10 year olds, Rancy Likin and Phoebe Lee, talk about their ‘peer-tutoring for Primary 1s’ initiative.

Saving the Endangered Shark & saying ‘No’ to Shark fin soup(Listen)
Raffles Institution's team on their initiative on Saving the Endangered Shark and their endeavour to promote fake shark fin soup in Singapore Restaurants.

14-year olds from Greendale Secondary explain their product design  iPulley that would  help tackle the problem of the elderly enjoying their exercise in a more friendly & comfortable environment.

Smile for Cleaners(Listen)
Raffles Institution’s survey surfaced our lack of compassion towards our cleaners.  The team talks about how they made their school community to be more gracious towards their cleaners and show them some basic respect. 

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DFC Singapore 2013 - Tampines Primary - Elderly Cleaners

Be The Change Exposition 2013

Be The Change Exposition 2012

Kiran Bir Sethi teaches kids to take charge