1 BRIEF FACTS
Name: Project Sunshine2015
Venue: Enfants d'Asie ASPECA, Takeo Province, Cambodia
Duration: 19-24 June 2015
To offer opportunities for our Rovers to develop organisational and leadership skills in overseas community service learning projects so that our youths will inculcate the good values of giving and sharing through participating and involving community interaction, cultural exposures and at the same time attaining global perspectives and knowledge so that our youths can be played a constructive roles in and within the community for the betterment of the our young people. The project allows our youths to connect and foster goodwill friendship with our Cambodia Scouts
Project Sunshine hopes to create a new platform for Scouts between the two countries to support the Messenger of Peace initiatives.
Project Sunshine is a new initiative mooted by South Area Rover Scout Roundtable. It is collaboration between the South Area Rovers and The Cambodia Scouts. The project is also supported by the SSA International Department.
A total of 25 participated in this inaugural project consisting 15 Rovers from Cambodia and 10 Rovers and Leaders from Singapore.
4 CONCEPT & PROGRESSION
Project Sunshine is themed in relation with the aims of Messengers of Peace. In general, MOP aimed to inspire young men and women throughout the world to work for the cause of Scouting: Creating a Better World! The initiative promotes young men and women as Leaders for Life – in their communities and across the world.
Project Sunshine 2015 is on a fact-finding and developmental mission. Through the Scout Method, the team intends to focus on progressive non-formal learning and educational platform. It aimed to develop a platform for participative and fun learning environment.
The team works on the following areas:
Scout Promise & Law
“I promise to do my best” encouraged every member of the team to do his best to learn in whatever he or she comes across. Through this, they make friends, establish and maintain harmonious relations with the people they come in contact.
Learning by Doing
We learn to take ownership on allocated tasks allowing us to step “out of the box” us and allow us to self-develop in area of presentations, communications and organization skills. It allows good succession for aspiring Rovers to take lead role in future projects.
The project gave me great confidences, offering opportunities for me to develop myself. Presentations and communication with different ages of people around me helped me to develop my confidence.
The Patrol System
Language is one of the barriers that we faced in Cambodia. However, we worked together to make this project a successful one. Especially, when there is a need to create a fun atmosphere during the singing session at the children home and high school, with the help of everyone working as a team, the singing session ended successfully.
Cambodia scouts and Singapore scouts are of different country, different religion, different language, but we had a common goal. It is the symbolic Framework in scouting that had bonded us together. We are able to work together well with the Cambodia scouts since the first time we met and making the project sunshine activities cohesive and fun.
For the first 3 days, we headed straight to the orphanage centre located in Takeo province which is a 2 hours car ride from the airport. It’s basically back to basics there, sleeping on metal beds with mosquitoes net, showering using well-water, no fan or air-conditioners. This helps to develop one's physical, intellectual, emotional, social and spiritual potential.
The age range in the orphanage centre is from 3 to 15 years old. Our observation revealed that children after school returned to the orphanage have nothing to do in the afternoon. They lay around and chit chats with their mates. We hope to offer activities that interest them. We felt that they may need guidance, someone who can share or talk about their goals in life. Adult support is relevant in this area. The young children easily felt for affection with visitors like us. We wish we can do more for them.
5 WHAT WE HAVE LEARNT
The project had identified the following learning points:
• Developed interdependence and teamwork
• Increase social awareness
• Learn to live together
• Encourage leadership
• Contribute to the communities
• Achieve youth empowerment through learning by doing
• Discover strength
• Engage in finding solutions to problems
• Exchange Scouting's values
• Promote culture of peace
• Learn to face challenges
I myself don’t travel regularly and this will be my fourth foreign country I will be flying to. Especially that this trip is more of a community work and learning adventure, which is much different from my previous trips. When we arrive at Cambodia airport in the afternoon, we the Singapore scouts were greeted warmly by the local scouts over there. These greetings were done by the common way in scouts, the scout salute. The journey to the Orphan Centre of Takeo was a bumpy two hours journey. Once we reached our destination, children rushed out to greet us outside the building. They give us a tour around the Orphan Centre and our rooms as well. The facilities in the room are at a minimal. There is a small fan, table and a thin mattress. It is nothing much like what we have here in Singapore. In the evening, one of the scout hosts brought us around to try street food. I was warned in Singapore not to try them as I can get a bad stomachache from it. In the end, I decided to try them out since it was the first time I been to Cambodia. The Cambodia cuisine we had at night was much different from what I have expected. The food there is often towards the sweet and sour. After dinner we gathered around and share more about ourselves. We taught them the project sunshine songs as well as Singapore scout songs and they taught us their cultural dance. At the end of the day, we took turns to wash and prepared to turn in for a nights rest. For the first, I am using sleeping net and needed the Cambodian scouts to help me set it up. Cambodia is not as bad as what I think it was. Despite the traffic were bad and public amenity were poor, the people are very heartwarming and the streets are relatively safe.
At the opening ceremony, the Cambodian performed their cultured dance for us as their distinguished guests. For the first time I sat in front facing everyone for such an event. I took this opportunity to learn public speech from our Singapore scouts as well as the Cambodian scouts and the General Secretary. After the speech, we were given an in depth tour around the Orphan Centre. We realised that there are many facilities which were under maintained. There is a garden which can be used to teach the children about plants and their importance in the ecosystem. The badminton court could have been a place for the children to play sports with better facilities. We found out that many doors are not function properly and the children are sleeping without a proper bed. Most of them sleep on a thin mat over a hard surface. We then had a chance to mingle around with them. We taught them how to tie friendship band, make a ball out of paper, singing our sunshine project songs and even simple English so they can introduce themselves. I realise that these children are fast learners and are more than willing to learn from us. Compared to our Singaporean students, they are very focused and attentive to learning. After lunch, we were brought to the Cambodian scouts’ camp site at Chitapich mountain. They showed us how the campsite was managed and what they were preparing for the Japan World Jamb 15. Their gateways were very stable and creative than I have expected. We exchanged songs and laughter as we interacted with them. After dinner, we began to have games and sing-along with the children. I was asked to be the emcee with one of the Cambodian scouts, Samnang. Communication was the barrier there as the children could not understand English. Samnang had to interpret to the children words by words. We sang songs which require hand and body movements. This way, the children can not only learn English songs, they also can follow with movements. We managed to pull through and gave them a memorable time. We also performed cultural dance that we have learnt on the first day. The children enjoyed so much that they gave everyone of us hugs as an appreciation. One of them even followed into Melvin’s room after the session ended. We can see that he is still wanted to play more with us.
We visited the training centre and library of BOOKBRIDGE. BOOKBRIDGE is a charitable organisation that sets up learning centre to bring quality education to the people in need. Although the centre is closed on Sunday, the in-charge makes her ways down to the centre to show us around. She showed us how the centre is helping the children at the Orphan Centre so we in the future can help enhance the help for the less fortunate ones. Once we are back to the Orphan Centre, we continued our activities from yesterday and at the same time teach them on personal hygiene. We brought some sticker books, drawing books and colour pens from Singapore and pass to them. One of the children actually made a card for me. Before we left for Phnom Penh, they give us hugs and kisses as farewell. I can sense that they were unreluctant to send us off as this will mean that they will be back to their usual days. I hope that the next time we come back, we can teach them more skills which benefit them in the long run which can change their lifestyle for the better.
We visited the Cheasim Chimroeunroth High School Scout Group. Darren had to go back to Singapore to work. So as a secretary, I will be representing in his stead to give an introduction speech to them. At the same time, the Cambodian scout’s leader, Por, will have to translate for me. Since this is the first time we are working together, I spoke rather too fast initially and realised that he is unable to catch up with my speed and I decided to slow down. It was a great experience for me as public speech is terrifying to me since I seldom give presentation. We taught them to tie friendship band and exchanged each others’ end product. We also teach them project sunshine songs as well as some Singapore scouts song. They shared with us their scout’s activities in Cambodia and I realised that they focus more on communal works. The Cambodia scouts then bring us for lunch at some rural places. We have to sit together in a small hut for our lunch. There are no chairs but just floor mat with food placed on floor. Although the stall serves a small number of customers, their food is surprisingly fantastic. They then bring us to their places of worship to let us understand more about their culture.
The Cambodia scouts’ brought us to the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum in Phnom Penh. The site is a former high school which was used as a prison called Security Prison 21 (S-21) by the Khmer Rouge regime from its rise to power in 1975 to its fall in 1979. Tuol Sleng means "Hill of the Poisonous Trees" or "Strychnine Hill". Tuol Sleng was one of the 150 execution centers in the country. There were as many as 20,000 prisoners there were killed there. One of the female Cambodian Rovers visited this place for the first time. She told us that her parent did not bring her to go as her grandfather died there. The tortures which her grandfather suffered was inhuman, the emotion was so immense that she burst out in tears after just visiting for 20 minutes. She then decided not to continue and waited at the exit for us. It was really a sad event as these act were inhumane and most of them did not survive. They then bring us to their market over there for us to buy some souvenirs back to Singapore. Before we came here, we did a research in Singapore and know that there is a dim sum restaurant over there which somehow resemble the Chinese food in Singapore. We decided to bring the Cambodia scouts there for lunch as not many Cambodians have a chance to visit Singapore. Out of the 15 Rover Scouts over there, only two of them have visited the Singapore for the Singapore International Airboree in 2014. After lunch we went to the Cambodia Scouts HQ to discuss, share, and reflect on this visit on the improvement for the next project sunshine. We then proceed to the Council office to exchange our rover activities. I presented to the chief commissioner of Cambodia scouts, Secretary General of Cambodia scouts and director of Cambodia scouts cabinet. This is a rare opportunity for me to showcase my skills and also a great chance for me to build up my confidence. We had our dinner together at a steam boat buffet. Knowing that we have very little time left before leaving tomorrow, we chatted for hours at the dinner place before returning to our hotel.
Today is the last day for this trip. We had our lunch at Por’s place. He had a coconut tree there and one of the rover, Samrach, climb up the tree to pluck it down for us. We also helped Por’s parent to prepare lunch for all. The home cooked food was delicious. I realized that Cambodia drainage system is not as good as Singapore’s, I had actually choked their toilet with too much toilet rolls. Our host then sent us to the airport. We bid farewell to each other and I promised to see them again for project sunshine 2.
For the past 6 days we had a great time together, we felt that we are actually connected to each other. We are able to understand and able to communicate well with each other. We were all hoping for Project Sunshine 2 coming to realization so that we can see each other again