While other youth his age prefer to spend their school holidays with their family and friends, Mr Govinderpal Singh chose to ‘sweat it out’ for the next three weeks in India.

Together with 15 other volunteers from a multi-racial background, 18-year old Mr Govinderpal left on 7 December 2010 for a village school in Punjab to help the less fortunate and needy children in a project organised by YSA.

The group which consists of undergraduates, teachers, a lawyer and a tutor, amongst others, will develop a library and spruce up and paint the school. They will also be sharing teaching and learning resources with the students and teachers there. The volunteers range between 18 to 47 years old.

The send-off ceremony for the group, held at the Sikh Centre, Singapore earlier in the day on 7 December 2010, was attended by Member of Parliament for Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC, Mr Hri Kumar Nair.

He said, “Endeavours like these make the world a better place for us all. We live in times where more people are seeking differences between themselves and others who do not share the same religion, race, culture, language and traditions from them…This project by YSA reminds us that each and every one of us has a role to play to promote goodwill in the world. There is a well-known saying that evil flourishes when good men do nothing. Today, 16 more good Singaporeans embark of a journey to bring more light to this world.”

Ms Nithiya Karuppiah, who just completed her post-graduate law course, said that this is the first time she is participating in an overseas expedition. She added, “I am looking forward to the trip. Just as I hope to contribute to the school, I believe I will gain as well personally and professionally. I will be able to understand and appreciate another culture, another community and another country.”

The President of YSA, Mr Hernaikh Singh, said that more than 200 young Singaporeans have participated in these expeditions since their inception in 2003. “I believe that the most important take-away for the participants is the development of self-confidence and self-belief. They learn about their own strengths and weaknesses and how they can overcome the challenges and deliver, if they preserve and give their best.”

The group will return to Singapore on 27 December 2010.

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