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'The Circle of Siblings'

Feeling the presence of departed siblings in our schools and communities.

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Who is your idea designed for and how does it reimagine the end-of-life experience?

Losing a sibling to a tragic accident is difficult for younger siblings. This idea is designed for adolescents who have lost their 'big brother' or 'big sister'.

This idea stems from my post, Our Collective Reflection - Losing a Classmate. At the age of 14, I lost a classmate from a tragic accident. Upon sharing this post on Facebook, many friends reached out to me. I found out that a few people lost their older siblings at a young age. 

The oldest child has a huge influence on the lives of their younger siblings - identity development, relationships with others (including parents and friends), and showcasing stereotypical male/female behaviours.

When the older sibling passes away, the younger siblings face loss in different ways. They may feel vulnerable, unsafe, and may be guilt, if there was sibling rivalry. Further, as their parents are dealing with the loss of their child, the younger siblings may feel left out, and act out in different ways.

With the help of psychologists, school counselors, teachers and parents, we create a circle of 'sisters' or 'brothers' to ensure that the child feels loved and knows that they have support over the years.  The circle of 'sisters' or 'brothers' (The Circle) can be formed organically (e.g. parent/teacher reaching out to a friend of the departed sibling) or via a structured process (not sure about the process). The Circle would help the younger siblings in their communities - be it from  standing up to bullies to walking them home after school ended. The Circle would last as long as the younger child no longer needs its support, and dissolve in an organic fashion.

At the same time, psychologists & school counselors can work with teachers and parents, to build emotional capacity around death and grief. Could a similar offering, called 'Circle of Parents' help parents deal with the loss of their child?  This service offering should ideally be integrated into The Circle program.

I envision using WhatsApp and Facebook as education and communication tools among adults, much like the EdTech App from India that is transforming education.

What early, lightweight experiment might you try out in your own community to find out if the idea will meet your expectations?

Interviews with medical/education professionals, and individuals who have lost siblings/ children to understand the whole story, and determine the type of service(s) that can be provided.
What potential partnerships need to be created between education/health sector? What funding opportunities exist to potentially build this program to scale (especially the Tech App)?

What skills, input or guidance from the OpenIDEO community would be most helpful in building out or refining your idea?

1) General reactions - strengths and weaknesses.
2) Seek the expertise of child/adolescent psychologists & grief counselors to weigh in on the complexity of mental and emotional health needs of children, especially those from socio-economically fragile families.

Tell us about your work experience:

Healthcare, basic research, design, community health & civic innovation

This idea emerged from

  • An Individual


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