PROJECT SUNSHINE 2015
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
This is the first time I board a plane wearing my scout uniform but the third time I have embark on a service learning trip to an overseas country, hence feeling excited in wearing our national flag on my uniform.
As I had travelled to Cambodia once before, once we landed I have been looking out for mobile shop to purchase a SIM card for data services. Living in the technology advanced society now, “going online” has been part and parcel of our lives. But as soon as we cleared customs, we were warmly welcomed by the Cambodia scouts and there is no time to locate any mobile shop, hence without having any data service, we hop onto the vehicle arrange by the Cambodia scouts to our first stop, Ophan Centre of Takeo.
On the journey to our first stop, it is quite an eye opener to see how fast Cambodia’s economy picks up, as I had just visited Cambodia a year before this trip. The roads the infrastructures had all been improved comparing my last visit.
Upon reaching the centre, children from the centre rush out to greet us, but having a barrier in language, it was initially pretty awkward. But thankfully our Cambodia scout friends taught us a few Khmer greetings to minimally be able to communicate with the children.
We were then shown around the centre, dining area, activities room, our sleeping bunks. Minimalist I can say which really bring back the memory of past service learning trips I have gone. Come to think again, it was good that I did not purchase the SIM card at the airport, so I can spend more time talking to people, understand their culture and be enlightened by their way of life.
After we had settle down around 5pm, we were waiting for dinner and meanwhile walking nearby the centre checking out any interesting stuffs. The locals were friendly and surprise at the same time to see foreigners in town.
Dinner time! We sit in round tables and started trying out the dishes. Personally, I feel that the local cuisine, some tasted like oriental Chinese food, some tasted like Vietnamese food, and some tasted like Thailand food. Anyway they were all tasting great and I’m always looking forward to have more of it.
After dinner we gathered and share more on ourselves and get to know the Cambodia scouts even more. We exchange songs, cheers and making sure all of us knows about the songs and activities we are going to do with the children tomorrow.
At the opening ceremony, the Cambodian performed their cultured dance for us as their distinguished guests. We were honoured to have the Secretary General of the Cambodia scout to grace the event and deliver a speech. 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, weeds and plants can be spotted growing out of the cracks.
We notice there is a garden which has potential to be converted to a learning or activity area for the children, example they can learn more about plants and the ecosystem.
Many of the doors and windows are faulty, with a screw coming off or having cracking sound. The way they sleep is only with a thin mat on the ground, making me feel fortunate that I have a bed back home in Singapore.
Next we did some activities with the children, we partner up with the Cambodia scouts, having different activities at different station which includes making friendship bands, origami, singing songs and simple English which they can learn to introduce themselves with.
After lunch, we went to the Cambodian scouts’ camp site at Chitapich mountain. They showed us how their campsite was managed and how they were preparing for the Japan World Jamb 15. Their gateways were huge and very stable. We introduce ourselves and mingle around with them and some of the Cambodia scouts brought us up to the gigantic Buddhist statue that is up on a hill beside the campsite. The view was simply amazing.
After dinner, we began to have games and sing-along with the children. Ivy was tasked to be the emcee with one of the Cambodian scouts, Samnang. Initially the reaction of the children was cold, as they were not able to understand much English, further more with our singlish slang. Luckily we have Samnang to rescue the damsel in distress, he helped to interpret to the children word by word, and soon we saw smiles from the children. The sing-along is ended with a flash mob style of singing and dancing in motion, which we all had an amazing and sweaty time. A kid even follow me back to my room after the session showing how much he had enjoy.
After our nice breakfast, 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 rushes down to the centre to unlock the gates and show us around. She showed us how the centre is helping the children at the Orphan Centre, with programs and opportunities for the children to learn.
Once we are back to the Orphan Centre, we continued with more activities and at the same time get them to understand more on personal hygiene. We also brought stationery, drawing books and color pencils for them to practice.
As we were leaving for the city, many of the children were sad and gave us hugs and kisses as farewell. They were very reluctant to see us leave, as it will be quite some time till any other volunteers will come along.
As we leave for the city, we also send-off Darren to the airport as he needs to report for work in Singapore.
After breakfast we meet up with our Cambodia scout friends and visited the Cheasim Chimroeunroth High School Scout Group.
Ivy represents Darren in giving the speech to give them an introduction on Project Sunshine. After that we had an activity session with them, doing the friendship bands and sing-along. the students were more receptive of the English songs we sang and were able to communicate pretty well.
Next stop, LUNCH!
The Cambodia scouts then bring us for lunch at an eatery located next to Prasat Phnom Reap. There is no chairs or tables, just huts with elevated boards with mats for us to sit and place the dishes. The food is delicious and I forgotten how many serving I had.
Then we visited Prasat Phnom Reap, it is very serene and peaceful. We did not taken any photos inside the temple as to respect their religion. The temple’s architecture is very similar to Angkor Wat, after we came back to Singapore and did some research, it is true that the Prasat Phnom Reap is built base on Siem Reap’s Angkor Wat.
We met up with the Cambodia scout and went 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 - 1979.
Tuol Sleng was one of the 150 execution centers in the country and 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 prisoners suffered was inhuman, it was vert emotional for her to even step into the building grounds.
Next, we went to the local market and get some souvenirs back to Singapore. As I had visited the market before, I didn’t bought much stuffs, but of cause I bought my favourite magnets to give to my friends and fill their fridges with magnets from different countries.
Lunch was Dim sum, and the restaurant we went is open by a Singaporean. To let our Cambodia scout friends have a feel of Singapore style Dim Sum.
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. Ivy then share our Singapore rover activities to the chief commissioner of Cambodia scouts, Secretary General of Cambodia scouts and director of Cambodia scouts cabinet.
Last day of our trip before heading back to Singapore. We were invited over to Por’s (Cambodia Rover scout) home to have lunch, it is very interesting for me to observe. His family is very closely knitted and while preparing lunch all of them sit around and help out.
I bet you cannot see this every day in Singapore, and for myself I usually eat out as parents and siblings are working, no point to cook for 1 person.
I always felt going on service learning trip is very beneficial, not only to the people we are helping, but it also help us to relook ourselves, take a break from the busy emails and phone calls and appreciate the smallest things.
And lastly..... "I'll be back"