Lost&Found was one of several nonprofit organizations in Sioux Falls to host professional fellows from the Young Southeast Asian Leadership Initiative (YSEALI) program of the United States State Department for three weeks in May. These professional fellows are between the ages of 25-35 and brought significant professional experience from their home countries in Southeast Asia to local organizations, supporting work such as the development of AI tools for diagnosing autism or enhancing suicide prevention and suicide loss survivor training. Of the 30 fellows placed around the United States through this program, five were in Sioux Falls.
The two fellows who worked with Lost&Found were Benny Prawira and Sean Thum.
Benny Prawira (he/him) is an independent psychological researcher with lived experience. He founded the first youth-based suicide prevention community in the country in 2013, Into The Light Indonesia, with a particular interest in meeting the needs of equity-deserving groups by involving lived experience experts. He currently serves as lived experience advisor for the Wellcome Trust Mental Health Team, the digital mental health equity program at UBC, and various research programs with the University of Manchester and the University of Indonesia. Besides his advocacy and research works, he provides compassion-focused mindfulness-based training and wellness coaching services.
Sean Thum is a medical doctor specializing in Psychiatry at the Hospital Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Universiti Putra Malaysia. He serves as a Policy Officer with the Malaysian Health Coalition, and his professional interests lie in the field of mental health, especially on the topics of increasing the availability and accessibility of mental health resources in the region. Outside his career in Psychiatry, Sean is a co-founder of Tenang App, a mood tracker mobile application delivering integrated and value-based solutions to primary healthcare in Malaysia, as part of Angsana Health. Apart from that, he writes a column at Sin Chew Daily, and has published over 50 articles covering the topics at the intersection of public and mental health. In his free time, Sean goes on long hikes and runs a marathon annually to raise funds for Hospis Malaysia.
“Lost&Found prides itself on meeting the needs of our community using the best knowledge and practices available. To have Benny and Sean join our staff elevated that perspective and gave us global insight and community that is rare and tremendously special,” Lost&Found Executive Director/CEO Erik Muckey said. “Our team will be forever grateful for this experience!”
Other Sioux Falls organizations that hosted fellows were South Dakota Voices for Peace, the South Dakota School for the Deaf, LifeScape, and the LSS Center for New Americans.