The challenging economic conditions in Singapore made raising funds extremely difficult. However, YSA and 14 young Singaporeans were determined to make a difference to the lives of the less privileged and less fortunate in India. Undeterred by fund raising challenges, they preserved in their efforts to make the community service project happen.

On 6 December 2013, the 14 participants embarked on a journey of selfless and charitable service to aid underprivileged and needy school children in Punjab, India, for three weeks. They will return to Singapore on 25 December 2013.

YSA organised a send-off ceremony for the participants on 4 December 2013 at Central Sikh Temple, Singapore. Mr R Dhinakaran, Nominated Member of Parliament, Singapore, was the Guest-of-Honour for the ceremony.

The expedition has a very Singaporean flavour, with participants from all the racial and religious groups in Singapore – Sikhs, Chinese, Malay and Indians. This is in line with the Association effort to be inclusive and to reach out to young Singaporeans from all walks and backgrounds.

The team will spend its time developing a library of about 2,500 books in the school. At the same time, it will clean up, refurbish and paint the whole school. It will also purchase chairs and relevant furniture for the classrooms in the school. The participants will also conduct teacher training workshops for the teachers and personal hygiene classes and interaction sessions with the children. They will also distribute toys and clothes to the children and needy in the local community. In addition, the team will spend time interacting with the local community.

The aim of the project is to provide the opportunity for Singaporean youths to address the educational needs of the host community. At the same time, the participants will be able to participate in meaningful service in aid of the less fortunate and, in doing so, experience a sense of civic engagement and social responsibility. The project will also raise an awareness and appreciation of the Sikh and Indian culture among the participants and enable them to understand the socio-economic development issues in Punjab and India. This will, in turn, help the participants better appreciate the own situation and conditions in Singapore.

The projects fit in well with YSA’s mission of creating world-ready young Singaporeans, accomplished by integrating their aspirations into the Singapore society, enhancing mutual understanding on issues of common concern and fostering friendships across ethnic groups in Singapore, the region and the world. The Association’s activities benefit both the Sikh community and Singapore at large.

The project is supported by the Youth Expedition Project at the National Youth Council, Lee Foundation, TriStar Electronics, Thakral Group and individual donors and well-wishers. Jet Airways is the Official Airline for the project.

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