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I am passionate about:
transform education and amplify inclusion through research & development, technology and collaboration.
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Melbourne, VIC, Australia
Social Designer, Engineer, Researcher
Mandy Lau is an industrial designer, engineer and researcher who passionate in social innovation and empowering people through her inclusive designs. She holds a Bachelor of Product Analysis with Design and Master of Industrial Design, as the recipient of Monash University Vice-Chancellor’s Social Inclusion Award.
She has developed several social projects received multiple international awards including the Samsung Creative Talents Award, Australian Winner of James Dyson Award, Good Design Award and Red Dot Award. Mandy has been accepted as a Singularity University Impact Fellow 2016-2017.
Expert’s thoughts on your business model: “can see there would be a business model in subsidising provision in emergency situations by sales in other context. Would like to learn more.”
Answer: The ultimate beneficiaries of Reach and Match are often children, schools and families that already face considerable extra expenses due to disabilities, especially in emergency contexts.
Reach & Match generates revenue by providing products and programs in developed countries and is well-adopted by the leading institutions and organisations in the world. R&M is dedicated to creating more innovative and inclusive educational products in the future. We have a strong vision to bring Reach & Match for emergency use and developing countries where they have the greatest need. Revenue that we generated from other contexts can help subsidise emergency contexts. When there is a greater demand in the world, the unit price will decrease and which will help to supply to developing countries.
Partnering with the right organisations will help to maximise the effectiveness of the program and lower the cost.
“Reach and Match responds to user needs by creating a learning opportunity that includes braille, text, colour. It creates an inclusive learning environment. In terms of feasibility I think there may remain culture barriers in ensuring that students with disabilities are given access to these tools in an emergency situation. It seems that it would be relatively straightforward to provide this resource to affected communities.”
Answer: Reach & Match creates opportunities for children with disabilities who are neglected, especially in emergency contexts. In some cultures, children with disabilities tend to be kept hidden or segregated. However, during disasters, children are mixed together with other in ways which they might not otherwise do so. Social barriers are temporarily broken down. Hence disasters provide both a rare opportunity and a necessity to facilitate inclusive play.
Disasters provide an important chance for children with disabilities to interact with other children, so that after the disaster, the inclusive play that has been established can continue. Reach and Match serves as a tool to capitalize upon this mixing. This tool promotes inclusion during disasters and creates an opportunity to provide accessibility for children with disabilities to learn.
“This idea demonstrates a solid understanding of user needs from a disability perspective. However, the references to children who've experienced trauma do not demonstrate a depth of understanding of relevant issues and contexts. In terms of feasibility, there are significant issues regarding the teacher training component of this idea, ie. how would this be delivered, when and by whom?”
Answer: Reach and Match will help mitigate trauma by creating a sense of routine and normalcy. Reach and Match also helps to calm the children by creating a cheerful environment to make them feel happier. Reach & Match has many cheerful and reassuring sensations. It has bright primary colours and distinctive textures.
Reach and Match also provides opportunities for teachers, staff and parents to engage with traumatized children. Reach and Match also acts as a playground. Physical activities can burn off adrenaline and release mood-enhancing endorphins to can help children to sleep better. Reach and Match paths, shapes and letter can be used to by children for games and activities to help them express how they feel about traumatic events. It can also be used (on its side) to create a semi-enclosed space to give children a sense to security. This can be helpful for some children with autism.
Ideally, we would want to collaborate with children’s relief organisation to deliver the program. Team leader Mandy has great experience in providing training. We are currently working with Save the Children to pilot the program in Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea for non-emergency context. We will work with program officers, teachers and support workers. We will examine and evaluate the local applications and effectiveness of the program, and hopefully in the near future, we can apply it to emergency contexts. Therefore, we look for partners to work with us.
The Reach & Match Inclusive Learning Program guide (printed activity manual) is also inside the learning kit, which includes simple instructions for activities and outcomes. It is an instructional and easy-to-read manual which allows the teachers to instruct effectively. The Reach & Match team will also provide high-level training to the organisation staff for when and how to use and deploy the kits. Reach & Match can be included as part of relief kits or supplies sent out by the organisation.