Fourteen Singaporeans embarked on a journey of selfless and charitable service on 9 December 2016 to work with underprivileged and needy school children in Punjab, India. They will return to Singapore on 27 December 2016.

YSA organised a send-off ceremony for the participants on 8 December 2016 at the Function Hall at Khalsa Dharmak Sabha. Mr Murali Pillai, Member of Parliament for Bukit Batok SMC, was the Guest-of-Honour for the send-off ceremony.

During his address, Mr Murali stated, “Your expedition comes at a very interesting time with a lot of change and uncertainty in the world. The good work you will embark on is a fantastic message because you will touch the lives of many in Punjab, the village community and school children. They will realise that there are others who care for them and want to see them improve their lot.”

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

During the three weeks, the participants will be based in a government primary school in Bhambri village in Fatehgarh. The school caters to children between the ages of six years and fourteen years who come from the poorer section of the community.

The participants will develop a full-fledged library in the school. The project will also include purchasing tables and chairs for the students as well as other necessary furniture for the teachers and staff at the school. The participants will also refurbish and paint the whole school as well as oversee the necessary electrical, plumbing and infrastructure repairs during the project. Equally importantly, the team will help install a generator and a water purifier so that they school will have regular electricity and clean water supply for the children. All in all, the participants hope to present a conducive learning environment for the children. Beyond the school, the participants will distribute clothes and rations to the needy in the local community. In addition, they 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 project is supported by the Youth Expedition Project which is powered by Youth Corps Singapore, Lee Foundation, TriStar Electronics, Thakral Group, Singapore Indian Development Association, and individual donors and well-wishers. Jetspeed Travel is the Travel Partner for the project.

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