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CAREcottage Feature – The Shy Crafter: Polymer Clay Crafts

CAREcottage Feature – The Shy Crafter: Polymer Clay Crafts

The Shy Crafter: Founder and caregiver Shylyn (rightmost) and her son Isaac (second from right) with family

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

This article was contributed by Shylyn Tan, a caregiver of four children, including a child with autism.


Hi, I’m Shylyn.

The Shy Crafter was inspired by my son, Isaac, who was diagnosed with ASD (autism spectrum disorder) since he was 6 years old. Over time, while facilitating Isaac to alleviate his sensory disturbances with clay moulding, I discovered my passion for polymer clay crafts in late 2020.

Our goal is to build a platform to bring about more awareness of ASD, support inclusion and celebrate abilities through our polymer clay crafts, featuring dinosaur creations by Isaac, together with my miniature food and floral wearables.

Having just joined CaringSG in January 2024, we have been warmly welcomed by all the CAREcottage members.

Isaac and mum Shylyn from The Shy Crafter
Isaac at the CAREcottage Bazaar, SAFRA Punggol

Participating in CaringSG’s First CAREcottage Bazaar at SAFRA Punggol on 17 March 2024

This is our first-time boothing alongside some experienced CAREcottage members. We enjoyed ourselves greatly and learned a lot from the other caregivers.

Isaac had the privileged opportunity to meet Dr Lim Hong Huay and Guest-of-Honour Mdm Rahayu Mahzam, who gave him encouragement and acknowledgement to his works, motivating him to persevere in his clay crafts.


Shylyn and fellow caregivers Mei Ling from Crochet Connectz and Rachel from Gan Delights at the CAREcottage Bazaar, SAFRA Punggol
Background: Shylyn, Isaac and husband Benjamin with (foreground) Dr Lim Hong Huay and her daughter Marianne at the CAREcottage Bazaar

Signature Creations by The Shy Crafter

Customers can purchase handmade polymer clay dinosaur creations by Isaac Chang, the resident teenage clay artist with ASD.

Customers can also choose from a wide selection of handmade polymer clay miniature food and floral earrings and accessories by Shylyn, mum of Isaac.

Handicrafts by Isaac Chang, resident teenage artist at The Shy Crafter
Handmade earrings and accessories by Shylyn, founder of the Shy Crafter

Learn more about The Shy Crafter at:

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CaringSG Seminar – Preparing for National Service (NS) for Enlistees with Special Needs on 17 Mar 2024

CaringSG Seminar – Preparing for National Service (NS) for Enlistees with Special Needs on 17 Mar 2024

Speakers at CaringSG's Seminar on Preparing for National Service, from left: COL (NS) Darren Tan, BG (RET) Ishak Ismail, PTE (NSF) Gabriel Tan, LCP (NSF) Joshua Yap and his mother Freya Lim
Speakers at CaringSG's Seminar on Preparing for National Service, from left: COL (NS) Darren Tan, BG (RET) Ishak Ismail, PTE (NSF) Gabriel Tan, LCP (NSF) Joshua Yap and his mother Freya Lim

Caregivers often face stress and uncertainty when their dependant goes through life stage transitions, such as enlisting in National Service. Hence, to empower caregivers with the knowledge to prepare for NS, we organised a seminar with SGFamilies, ACCORD, SAFRA Punggol and SPARK Singapore on 17 March 2024 (Sunday), 2:30 – 4:30pm at SAFRA Punggol.

Graced by our Guest-of-Honour Mdm Rahayu Mahzam, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Ministry of Health and Ministry of Law, and also Board Advisor to CaringSG, the event saw 128 participants who attended to learn about the pre-enlistment processes tailored for individuals with special needs.

Five invited speakers shared their experience and invaluable information on support mechanisms available to facilitate a seamless transition into National Service:

• COL (NS) Darren Tan, Family Coach and National Service Commander
• BG (RET) Ishak Ismail, Ex-Commander BMTC, ACCORD Member
• Freya Lim and LCP (NSF) Joshua Yap, mother and son
• PTE (NSF) Gabriel Tan, Administrative Support Assistant (ASA)

Caregivers who wish to learn more about the process can visit these links below:
CMPB – Pre-Enlistment Process
Enabling Guide

This is our second joint collaboration in our ongoing efforts to support caregivers with sons with special needs as they enlist in National Service. The first collaboration, a webinar in June 2023, can be accessed by logging into our member portal.

In addition to the seminar, CaringSG organised a CAREcottage Bazaar, showcasing artworks, creations of love, and dignity crafted by youths from our CAREcottage families from 10:30am to 5:30pm at SAFRA Punggol. Keep a lookout for upcoming CAREcottage features on our blog!

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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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CaringSG Volunteer Appreciation Day 2023

CaringSG Volunteer Appreciation Day 2023

CaringSG held our first Volunteer Appreciation Day on 27 May 2023, Saturday, at the National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre.

We welcomed 50 volunteers across various CaringSG Project 3i programmes to meet up and mingle with one another over lunch and games. 

After the Opening Address by Board Co-Chair Dr David Ang, volunteers enjoyed mini games which tested how well they knew each other, with lots of laughter and fun, and smiles all around.

Some volunteers and CaringSG staff who have not had the chance to meet in person, could finally meet face to face and bond over food and games. Others caught up with fellow volunteers they had not seen face to face for a long while and had a good long chat.

To show our gratitude for our volunteers’ contributions, we prepared appreciation videos showcasing their efforts and impact on caregivers and the community.

CaringSG Board Chair Dr Lim Hong Huay also gave a speech to thank volunteers, and she presented certificates and tokens of appreciation to our various groups of volunteers at CaringSG’s Volunteer Award & Appreciation Ceremony. 

We are immensely grateful to have the support of all our volunteers, and deeply cherish our time with you in our collective efforts to support special needs caregivers and their families.

Scroll down to see photos of our Volunteer Appreciation Day!

We welcome volunteers to sign up with us at


Opening Address by CaringSG Board Co-Chair Dr David Ang
Volunteer games underway with lots of laughter and smiles
Volunteer Appreciation Speech by CaringSG Board Co-Chair Dr Lim Hong Huay
CAREambassadors: volunteers at CaringSG events
CAREkakis: trained grassroot leaders
CAREchampions: caregiver volunteers at CAREconnect events
CAREwell: professional volunteers
CAREbuddy: trained caregivers who provide other caregivers with support and listening ear
icare! gala dinner volunteer

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CaringSG’s First i care! Charity Gala Dinner on 25 March 2023

CaringSG’s First i care! Charity Gala Dinner on 25 March 2023

CaringSG held its first i care! Charity Gala Dinner on 25 March 2023, 6:30-9:30 pm, at Carlton Hotel (Bras Basah) to raise funds to continue supporting special needs caregivers.

Generous donations from our Charity Auction enabled CaringSG to meet our gala dinner fundraising target of $250,000. With support from the Toteboard Enhanced Fundraising programme, we aim to raise a total of $500,000 from this i care! Campaign.

South East Asian Philosophy by Mr Yang Tien
Super Awesome Mom by Mdm Lim Keok Bee

In the months leading up to our gala dinner, we held a silent charity auction for six artworks that were kindly donated by three art donors, Mdm Chia Choy Ping, Mr Yang Tien and Mdm Lim Keok Bee. All six artworks had generous bids and we displayed the artworks during the gala dinner for guests to appreciate and meet the artists.

Serenity by Mdm Chia Choy Ping

During the dinner, our Guest-of-Honour, Minister Desmond Lee, announced that our CAREkaki programme and CAREconnect physical events would be scaled up to three more districts – Nanyang, Telok Blangah, and Bukit Batok East, on top of the two areas – Boon Lay and Kampong Glam – that CaringSG had already piloted our programmes in.

CaringSG Board Chair Dr Lim Hong Huay also announced that CaringSG would be launching the STEP ONE programme, a training and support program for new caregivers of young children with developmental needs, in July 2023. Funded by SG Enable, CaringSG aimed to reach 400 caregivers in 1 year. In November’s caregiver month, we would be collaborating with the Agency for Integrated Care, the National Council of Social Service and SG Enable to organise a National CAREcarnival and Conference too.

Other distinguished guests at CaringSG’s i care! Charity Gala Dinner included:

  • Ms Denise Phua, Mayor, Central Singapore District; and MP, Kampong Glam, Jalan Besar GRC
  • Mdm Rahayu Mahzam, Senior Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Health & Ministry of Law; and MP, Bukit Batok East, Jurong GRC
  • Ms Rachel Ong, MP , Telok Blangah, West Coast GRC
  • Dr Gerard Ee, Chairman, Charity Council and Agency for Integrated Care
Dr Patrick Ang at his piano recital

Before the dinner started, guests were treated to a piano recital by Dr Patrick Ang Cheng Ho in the gallery.

Very Special Choir performing for guests
Ms Marianne Leong during her solo performance
Ms Fernanda Wee Wei Xuan playing the gu zheng
Lucky draw - top 4 prizes (staycations and dinner buffet vouchers) were generously sponsored by Carlton hotel

While the sumptuous dinner was served to the guests, they were delighted by a choir performance by Very Special Choir, a guitar duet by Dr Stephen Chew Tec Huan and Mr Gerald Ong Hoon Hwa, a vocal solo performance by Ms Marianne Leong Jia Ern, and a Gu Zheng and piano duet by Ms Fernanda Wee Wei Xuan and Mr Mark Sim.

Group photo with CaringSG Board, staff, volunteers and performers

We are deeply grateful towards our Guest-of-Honour Minister Desmond Lee, distinguished guests, generous donors, talented performers, CaringSG Board, staff, volunteers, and supporters who made our charity gala dinner a successful event.

Media coverage of the announcements:
Art Donors:

Mdm Chia Choy Ping is a freelance painter who has been painting as a hobby since she was young. She donated three artworks: Spring Joy, Walking In The Rain, and Serenity.

Mr Yang Tien has a Master of Fine Arts (Academy of Art University, San Francisco). Previously under tutelage of renowned artists, he was one of the early artists that adopted digital media as the medium of choice for his creative works. He donated two artworks: South East Asian Philosophy and Lakeside Lover’s Jazz.

Mdm Lim Keok Bee is a caregiver, special needs art teacher and clay artist. Previously she was a dentist in Singapore. She donated one artwork, a sculpture titled Super Awesome Mom.

Programme Highlights:
  1. Piano recital in gallery by Dr Patrick Ang Cheng Ho, Head of Interventional Cardiology, Gleneagles JPMC Cardiac Centre. Head of Interventional Cardiology, Gleneagles JPMC Cardiac Centre. Dr Ang is currently a consultant cardiologist with Royal Healthcare and visiting consultant at National University Hospital. He has been playing the piano since the age of 6 and he has recorded 3 CDs to date which are available on YouTube.
  2. Choir performance by Very Special Choir: 12 persons with disabilities chaperoned by 12 caregivers performed for the gala dinner guests
  3. Guitar duet by:
    • Dr Stephen Chew Tec Huan, Renal physician, Mount Alvernia Hospital. Guitar was a recent interest and he learnt at Tomas Music School.
    • Mr Gerald Ong Hoon Hwa, Age 70yrs, retired Project Manager for Power Cable Engineering Co. Guitar teacher, Tomas Music School
  • Vocal Solo Performance by Ms Marianne Leong Jia Ern, winner of multiple international awards, including 1st prize for the Golden Classical Music Awards International Competition (2022) and the International Music Competition “Rome” Grand Prize Virtuoso (2021), and also won top prizes in the International music competition “The Art of Art” and “ The Art of Opera” (2021) and the North International music competition (2021). Marianne has Autism and she graduated from Pathlight Secondary school in 2020. She is currently schooling at Nanyang Polytechnic.
  • Mr Bertrand Lee, piano accompaniment. Previously under the tutelage of Albert Tiu in the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music whilst on full scholarship, Bertrand is now an accomplished concert pianist who performed extensively internationally and locally, and is also a music educator at Ms Khor’s Studio.
  • Gu Zheng and Piano duet by:
    • Ms Fernanda Wee Wei Xuan, a graduate of Sichuan Conservatory of Music, majoring in Guzheng performance under the tutelage of Professor Lin Yi. She is also a passionate music educator who hopes to inspire future music makers. Fernanda is a caregiver to a brother with Down Syndrome and Autism.
    • Mr Mark Sim, Senior Piano Teacher. Graduated from Singapore Raffles Music College with a Master of Music (Distinction) awarded by the University of West London. Like Fernanda, he is also a passionate music educator who hopes to inspire future music makers. He has his own private teaching studio, is a Senior Teacher at Sunflower Piano House and is a lecturer at Singapore Raffles Music College.

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i care! Gala Dinner: Dr Lim Hong Huay’s Speech on 25 March 2023

i care! Gala Dinner: Dr Lim Hong Huay's Speech on 25 March 2023


Minister Desmond Lee
Mayor Denise Phua
Parl Sec Ms Rahayu Mahzam
Ms Rachel Ong, Advisor from Telok Blangah
Dr Gerard Ee, Chairman of the Charity Council and Agency for Integrated Care
Board members and advisors of CaringSG
Distinguished guests, colleagues, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good evening. Thank you for joining us at CaringSG’s “i care!” Charity Gala Dinner. Your presence tonight is an immense encouragement to the team at CaringSG, and I believe to all the caregivers and families of persons with disabilities.

In 2021, CaringSG was born out of the fire of COVID pandemic. Despite the unprecedented challenges we faced, I am deeply grateful that when we caregivers stepped forward, YOU, came behind us.

For the Project 3i pilot programs, the CAREconnect, CAREbuddy and CAREwell, we received strong support from the Temasek Foundation, NCSS, and the Enabling Lives Initiative (ELI) Grant funded by Tote Board, managed by SG Enable. Project 3i is also the key pilot project under the SG Together Alliance for Action for Caregivers of Persons with Disabilities, formed by NCSS and SG Enable.

In addition, we matured as a charitable organization through the support of the Majurity Trust’s Maybank Momentum Grant, the Tan Ean Kiam Foundation, the ONERHT Foundation, Micron Technology, William Blair International and many generous donors and supporters. Many of you are here among us today. We are now an Institution of Public Character.

CaringSG is here today, because you believe in caregivers, you believe in a Singapore who says “i care!” Thank you for caring together with us!

As we exit the pandemic and settle into this new era of Caring Together, I am excited to share that the CaringSG team has lined up amazing new programs this year.

To name a few, we will be scaling up our flagship Project 3i programs to reach more caregivers and better support them. We will also be launching the STEP ONE program in July. This is a training and support program for new caregivers of young children with developmental needs.

It is funded by SG Enable, and we aim to reach 400 caregivers in 1 year. The program will provide caregivers with knowledge and skills about early intervention, so that they are better equipped to help their children develop and grow. This will help more caregivers to be more effective as equal and collaborative partners with the early intervention teams for their children.

In addition, the STEP ONE program will connect caregivers to other caregivers through support group sessions. In addition to STEP ONE, in November’s caregiver month, we will re-start our signature CAREcarnivals again. The first CAREcarnival at Enabling Village was a huge success in 2019 before the pandemic hit us.

This November, we will be collaborating with the Agency for Integrated Care, the National Council of Social Service and SG Enable to organise a National CAREcarnival and Conference. So stay tuned to our CaringSG channels as we will have more exciting news for you!

For now, let me bring you back to tonight’s exciting program! To help us to care for more caregivers and their loved ones, the “i care!” campaign aims to raise $500,000 by 31 March. So tonight, we really need you to be extra extra extra generous.

The CaringSG team has put together a wonderful program for you tonight. I am sure you have enjoyed the piano recital by Dr Patrick Ang in the Auction gallery during the cocktail earlier, and the heartwarming opening performance by our Very Special Choir. Please give Dr Patrick and the VSC families another round of big applause again!

In addition, tonight you will also enjoy a guitar duet, vocal solo, guzheng and piano duet lovingly put together by our CaringSG youth, families, and friends. In between the performances, we will also have lucky draws with big prizes generously sponsored by the Carlton Hotel, so please remember to drop your lucky draw tickets in the box if you have not done so.

There’s also something exciting happening in silence behind the stage! That’s our Silent Art Auction. I am sure you have seen the amazing artworks displayed outside the gallery. If you have not done so, please feel free to pop out to have a good look and put in your bid either through the online bidding form or the hardcopy form available at the auction desk in the gallery.

Each of these specially curated art pieces is the one and only unique piece of its kind. You cannot find them anywhere else and there is no reproduction. They have been generously donated by our artists, whom you can read more about in our Project i care! microsite. Please support and bid generously. Winners will be invited to take pictures with our guest of honor, Minister Desmond Lee and artists at the presentation later.

Last but not least, if this is still not enough to show how big your hearts are for caregivers of special needs children and people with disabilities, please donate through our “i care!” campaign page. You can also donate via cheque donation.

Please feel free to scan the QR codes on your table to access the gala dinner microsite, auction, and donation information.

Last but not least, thank you for being part of this “i care!” family. Please enjoy yourselves thoroughly tonight. Let the shows begin!

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CaringSG Forum on Social Support and Residential Needs

CaringSG Forum on Social Support and Residential Needs

CaringSG held a physical form on social support and residential needs on 20 Aug 2022 at Boon Lay Community Club. Twelve special needs families with three children attended the event.

Caregivers learnt about various forms of social support from Ms Chloe Huang (Deputy Director, Service Coordination and Advice, SG Enable).

Childminding activities were also provided for children who attended. The event was organised by three CAREkakis, two CAREambassadors, and four CaringSG staff and volunteers.

This event was also supported by the Enabling Lives Initiative Grant by SG Enable and Tote Board.

Visit our FB post to see more photos of the event.

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Celebrating Racial Harmony Day 2022 at Boon Lay

Celebrating Racial Harmony Day 2022 at Boon Lay

CaringSG supported Boon Lay Racial Harmony Day 2022 on 30 Jul 2022, held at Boon Lay CC.

Twelve special needs families with fourteen children attended the event and enjoyed trying out various traditional games, snacks such as muah chee and kacang putih, and bouncy castle. Families could post a photo taken at the event on their Facebook with the hashtag #BLRHD2022 to stand a chance to win cash prizes.

Minister Desmond Lee, Adviser to Boon Lay Grassroots Organisations, joined in the festivities together with the families. This event was supported by 3 CAREkakis, 3 CAREambassadors, and 5 CaringSG staff and volunteers.

Visit our FB post to view more photos of the event.

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A Father’s Love – From our Board Member, Dr Djoni Huang

A Father’s Love – from our Board Member, Dr Djoni Huang

Dear Fathers,

Never underestimate the importance you have in your child’s life. And although you may come across moments of stress, helplessness, fear and despair, you are not alone.

Dear Fathers, there are others who understand what it is like to raise a special needs child. We know how much planning it takes, figuring out how to start from ground zero. Some have given up careers as well to spend more time with their child, to provide stability at home through the formative years.

We are problem-solvers, anchors for our family, and leaders through uncertain times. We also look out for each other, and share what we know with fellow dads.

As we celebrate Fathers’ Day this month, let’s prioritise basic self-care, be kind to ourselves, and appreciate the efforts we have made to love and care for our families.

I would personally like to thank all the team members of CaringSG under the leadership of Dr Lim Hong Huay and Dr David Ang, PBM. You certainly have made a difference in our lives!

Happy Father’s Day.

– Djoni

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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