Poverty Escape Simulation

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Poverty Escape Simulation

In our poverty simulation, participants will assume the role of someone living below the poverty line.

Together with other members of their family, they'll struggle to earn enough for their basic needs from month to month. 

Along the way, they'll have to make decisions. Do they send family members to the courses conducted by NGOs? What do they do when the landlord comes for rent and they don't have enough? Do they resort to the black market to raise money by selling their organs or even other members of their family? Do they choose to be evicted?  Beg for money?

Learn what it means to live below the poverty line.

Learning Outcome

Placing participants in unfamiliar settings or uncomfortable situations heightens their ability to empathise with anyone. This helps build intrinsic motivation for participants wanting to learn more or to serve more.

Our simulation is designed by certified EQ Practitioners and Trainers with 3 learning stages, namely Engage, Experience and Reflect, to give participants a realistic ‘step into the shoes of others’.



©Six Seconds, www.6seconds.org

©Six Seconds, www.6seconds.org


Details for workshop

Course Leaders

Pin Qi and AaronAaron and Pin Qi are experienced Service Learning and EQ Practitioners (Aaron is also an EQ Trainer) who have led many youth volunteers to serve the community regionally. They aim to incubate empathy in youths to unleash the potential in all to be empathic change makers.

Program Schedule

15 min   Engage Briefing

60 min   Experience Simulation

60 min   Facilitated Reflection

(Timing may vary with number of pax)

Contact us to indicate your interest for subsequent programs.


Ideal Group Size

40 and above. Maximum 100.

Age group

14 - Adult


Ideally, groups headed overseas should immerse themselves in the daily life of the locals before embarking on their creative and practical ideas to enhance the village. Poverty simulation is definitely one of the closest it can get as a pre-trip activity done in Singapore.

-Florence Leung, Co-leader Team DAISY, YEP 2014

With an experienced facilitator that led the discussion at the end of the activity, many learning points were drawn. Even though I visited many slums and dumpsite during my work trips to the developing countries, this activity led me to empathise deeper and rethink my organisation’s effort in reaching out to the overseas communities.

-James Ji, Assistant Manager International Programmes YMCA

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Simulation FAQ

Why do we develop and offer simulations?

As the Chinese proverb puts it: ‘I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.’ Participants find "experience" far more impactful and lasting than talks and documentaries.

We invite participants to walk in the shoes and see through the lenses of others. As one participant told us after participating in a poverty escape simulation, “Researching online or reading books would not have taught me what I learned in the past hour”.

We offer simulations for those who wish to empathise with social challenges other people face. We also hope to empower them to turn this empathy into thoughtful, meaningful and effective action.

What do we want to achieve?

Education:We hope to give participants greater knowledge of social challenges.

Empathy:We hope to engage the heart, head and hands of our participants.

Reflections:We explore ways during our debrief for participants to learn from each other.

Are they realistic?

It is always a challenge to portray a social issue in a sensitive way. A simulation can only mirror the real thing to a certain extent. In this, the simulation format faces the same challenge as other forms of communication: movies, documentaries, living museums, speeches or written papers. All may fail to give a 100% representation of the social challenge.

However, if designed appropriately, each simulation can portray their subject matter in a way that allows participants a deeper identification with the subject matter and a fuller understanding of ways to solve them.

To help guide this process, when we seek to represent any particular need through simulation, two imperatives are of critical importance to us.

Firstly, we work alongside people who have faced or are facing the issue we are addressing so that we can best represent the issue through the simulation. Secondly, we work with VWOs/NPOs who champion the social issue.

These two groups help steer the development of our simulations: the story line and its trueness to life, the props and set that best reflect reality, and the points they consider of critical importance for participants to take away.

What is the outcome?

We have started exploring simulations, design and run them since 2014 and have observed participants becoming more motivated and better able to relate to the social issue when they are doing their community service. We hope our Empathy Experience simulation can inspire more social projects and further engagement in the community.

What is the intensity of the simulations?

The intensity varies but some could be more intense than the others. Our simulations are checked for safety and participants can be assured that they will not come to any actual harm. At any point during the experience, if participants feel they cannot manage, they may step out of the simulation and speak with our experienced staff. As of date, no participant has requested that.

How have participants responsed?

Do scroll up to see their testimonials for our Poverty Escape Simulation.

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