Project Sunshine 2015
1 BRIEF FACTS
Name: Project Sunshine2015
Venue: Enfants d'Asie ASPECA, Takeo Province, Cambodia
Duration: 19-24 June 2015
i) To offer an opportunity for our youth to develop organisational and leadership skill in overseas community service learning project that can inculcate good values in by community interaction involvement,
ii) To provide a platform for youth to play constructive roles for the community betterment by exposing to cultural differences and attaining global perspectives and knowledge that allows our youths to connect and foster goodwill friendship internationally.
iii) 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 an inaugurated collaboration between the South Area Rovers and The Cambodia Scouts.
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 in line 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 has adopted the Scout Method on this fact-finding and developmental mission, focusing on progressive non-formal learning and educational platform which aims to develop a platform for participative and fun learning environment.
The team uses the Scout Method as the guiding principle for the project:
Scout Promise & Law
“I promise to do my best”- encouraged every member of the team to do his best
"Duty to god" - encouraged every member of the team to do in accordance to his/her religious teachings
"Duty to country" - encouraged every member of the team to do his best while representing The Singapore Scout Association
Every member could be trusted as they showed loyalty to its country, association and project. We all made friends and had established and maintained harmony in our friendship relations. We took on the task in helping others with courage and integrity.
Learning by Doing
For many, this was our first overseas project. We learn to take ownership on allocated tasks by stepping “out of the box” and allowing 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 us great confidences, offering opportunities for us to develop ourselves. Presentations and communications with people from all walks of life and from different ages groups, helped us develop our confidence.
The Patrol System
The team from Cambodia and Singapore collaborated in patrol system where each member has a forte in a certain aspect. We put the right person for the right job and got the work done.
Despite the language barrier, the Symbolic framework in Scouting kicked. Robert Baden Powell created a song that bonded thousands of scouts from different countries during the first World Jamboree. Similarly, songs were sung and we created a fun atmosphere with the children in the home and high school.
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, who return to the home after school, have nothing much to do in the afternoon other than watching the world walking pass them. They hang 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
We arrive at Cambodia airport in the afternoon and were greeted warmly by the local team - the scouting way. The journey to the Orphan Centre of Takeo was a bumpy two hours journey. The children there rushed out greeted us upon our arrival. They give us a tour around the Orphan Centre and showed us our rooms. The facilities there were minimal. Metal bed frame, A small fan, a thin mattress and a mosquito net. It was a vast contrast to what we have back home in Singapore.
Dinner time, was simple. White rice, vegetables and soup. The Cambodians tend to have a taste preference of 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 up and prepared to turn in for a nights rest. In all, it wasn't as bad as what we were expecting. At least basic necessities were available. The people were friendly heart-warming and the streets were relatively safe. What felt was the lack of affection and attention that these children were not given.
At the opening ceremony, the locals performed their cultured dance for us as their distinguished guests. 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 could 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, made 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. We exchanged songs and laughter as we interacted with them.
After dinner, we began to have games and sing-along with the children. There was an initial communication barrier there as the children could not understand English. But after awhile, everyone was having fun as we sang and dance to the music. It was fun and definitely memorable. 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 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 thus I was "left alone". It was then I learnt what Scouting really is. It is in the name of Scouting where stranger turned into friendship almost instantly. We taught them how 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. Ivy, acting Chairperson in the adsence of Darren, presented a token of appreciation to the chief commissioner of Cambodia scouts, Secretary General of Cambodia scouts and director of Cambodia scouts cabinet. 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. This was my first Scouting Activity (Yes, I joined Scouting just for this project). 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