Twenty-nine young Singaporeans left for Punjab, India, on 7 December 2007 to help needy children in a village school. They are part of Project Khwaish VII, YSA’s community service expedition initiative.

Comprising a multi-racial mix of 10 Sikhs, eight Chinese, seven Indians and four Malay/Muslims, the team will spend two weeks in Bhalur (near the city of Moga) building a library in the school. At the same time, the project team will repair the roof of the classrooms as well as clean up, refurbish and paint the whole school. It will also purchase chairs and relevant furniture for the classrooms in the school. In addition, the team will spend time interacting with the local community as well as visiting places of cultural and historical importance such as the Golden Temple in Amritsar.

The aim of the expedition is to provide the opportunity for Singaporean youths to participate in meaningful service in aid of the less fortunate and, in doing so, experience a sense of civic engagement and social responsibility. At the same time, the expedition is geared at raising an awareness and appreciation of the Sikh culture among the participants and to enable them to understand the socio-economic development issues in Punjab. The expedition will also enable the participants develop group and leadership skills.

Through the use of international service-learning principles, the Singaporean youths will learn more about Sikh culture and Punjab’s socio-economic development issues while serving the community, which will in turn bring them closer to understanding Singapore’s development issues. Also, while making a difference to a community, they will acquire personal and group skill such as confidence, teamwork and leadership. Through it all, they will discover in themselves their ability to contribute to society, making them active citizens, whether in Singapore or abroad.

This is YSA’s seventh community service project to Punjab. It is supported by the Youth Expedition Project at the National Youth Council, Lee Foundation, TriStar Electronics, the Thakral family, and individual donors and well-wishers.

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