Hence, I had decided to share this meaningful activity with my class and 6 Warriors.
During one of my English / PVA lesson, we brain stormed this topic together and decided to help an orphanage at Batam.
They were excited to hear about the orphanage and the kids there. Once I knew the students were all enthusiastic about this community service activity, I shared with Ms Yvonne (HOD, V Program) my students’ enthusiasm and I was told to immediately proposed it.
I feel happy and much thanks goes to Ms Yvonne and Mr Anuwar for not only being supportive but also both of them believed that our students have the abilities and skills to do a wonderful job at the orphanage.
As this is a CIP, I did not want to rely on the school or SMC for the full funding. Instead, I wanted the students to learn “Compassion”, “Respect” and “Openness” the hard way, that is, through service- learning. Service learning is for students to use the skills and knowledge they already have and use it to further improve for e.g, baking cakes for donor, teach them dancing/games so the children will learn a new dance and some new games, and use the skills they learnt in school like housekeeping to clean up the orphanage. Also, when they are doing community service work, they will be able to apply our school values like caring for the kids, respecting their culture and openly talking to the kids and not putting them down.
The total cost for the Batam trip cost $4158. We got an approval of $2800 from the school. The balance $1358 was raised through our V café earnings, some donations and through our own garage sales.
I like to thank these special people:
- Ms Pritam for her continuous support for V café and for helping the team get some donations. She helped in guiding the Ice-Breaking group (Ramdan, Rui Cai, Wei Li & Crystal) with games and activities.
- Mr Rick for preparing the song sheets and discussing with the Song & Dance group (Hakim, Kiefer & Khairul) on the song choices. He also helped set up the computer corner and fixed the light bulbs at the orphanage.
- Ms Valerie for her generous donations and food to feed the orphans as well as to feed us too.
- The 3 other wonderful donors who helped make this trip possible for me and my students. They each received a loaf of butter cake for their generous donation.
As it was my first attempt, glitches and hitches were expected. But I learnt and grew from these small hiccups.
All 16 students who went had done me and the school proud because they did their part zealously and without complaints. Students shopped for all the items needed to make sandwiches and for housekeeping. Students participated in counting money in rupiah (counting skills) and they also worked as a team to load and unload all the stuffs from the van.
At the hotel, students were paired up and each pair checked into their own room. They were told to keep track of the time to meet for breakfast and dinner. Students were well disciplined and they were able to report on time for breakfast and dinner without being called by the teachers. Also, they gathered together during breakfast and dinner to chat and share some jokes. Ms Selina took the opportunity to brief students and also seek their feedback on the activities and discussed the next activity.
While at the orphanage, we had the same food as what the orphans had – rice, 1 egg, some vegetables and a tiny little piece of meat. We did not request for better food, we ate simple food too for all our 3 lunches so that our students are able to see for themselves that when we have little we are contented with whatever is offered to us (no complain for this and that).
My Cook & Bake group (Xue Fang, Kia Yi, Irwan and Gerald) also did a great job with the simple peanut butter sandwiches and potato salad with corn. All the kids enjoyed the snacks prepared by the group. It was indeed an ‘eye-opener’ for our students to watch the kids enjoying a simple snack.
During the housekeeping, it was raining heavily, but these did not deter the students from going about their work. Though it was muddy outside the home, students were not bothered by it as they moved about throwing rubbish, getting water to mop, clearing the storerooms despite being so dusty and above all, they worked hard as a team. Everyone helped each other.
At the orphanage, all 16 of the students worked really hard. Therefore, at the end of each day, the students got to enjoy their days with a little shopping, coffee and donuts break and soccer time too. In the shopping mall our students were divided into groups and they did their shopping on their own (Yes, in Rupiah). Students brought along some money and they were able to see for themselves that making purchases required good planning with the little money they had. Mr Rick was kind to bring Koon Wee and Rui Cai to buy some clothes. He thought them ‘how to convert Rupiah to Singapore dollar’ using a calculator so they can compare the prices. Instilling in them, “if they work hard, they can play hard” too so that they learn to balance their life between work and leisure (as our school mission-holistic development of our students to lead a meaningful and independant life)
Even though the Sports & Games group (Shaiful, Ariff, Shi Yang, Koon Wee & Wee Kiat) did not manage to carry out their activities because of the rain, they helped out in the other groups zealously as well.
Reflecting on our journey, I realized we have learnt a great lesson on “how not to take for granted some things” and I am very sure, for our next follow up trip, all of us will be well prepared and minimized any hiccups.
All of us would like to thank our principal, Mdm So, who encouraged us to go ahead with our trip (we were worried about the haze) and she gave us very valuable tips on how to keep ourselves safe should the haze reached an unsafe level. She personally made sure we bring along the masks.