It started in December 2003 with a newly-formed youth organisation and a group of young Singaporeans wanting to make a difference to the lives of the less privileged and less fortunate in India. Now, nine years and 11 projects later, YSA and the participants have certainly left an indelible Singapore imprint in the Indian state of Punjab. Altogether, more than 200 young Singaporeans from the ages of 17 to 35 years have participated in the Association’s ‘Project Khwaish’ community service expeditions. The word ‘Khwaish’ means ‘Hope’ or ‘Aspirations’ in Punjabi.

On 6 December 2012, a further 18 young Singaporeans 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 26 December 2012.

YSA organised a send-off ceremony for the participants on 5 December 2012 at the Central Sikh Temple, Singapore. Mr Vikram Nair, Member of Parliament for Sembawang GRC, was the Guest-of-Honour for the send-off ceremony.

The participants in this project consist of Sikhs as well as non-Sikhs. This is in line with the Association efforts to be inclusive and to reach out to young Singaporeans from all walks of lives and backgrounds.

The team will spend its time developing a library of 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 Khwaish 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, SINDA Youth Club, and individual donors and well-wishers. Jet Airways is the Official Airline for the project.

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