Last Thursday we had a a sharing at Cinnamon College at Utown and this is more information about the project! The content in the PDF would be some information about the project last year and our new project this year.
Last year our project was inclined in Edible Landscaping.The idea was to create a landscape, in this case which is vertical gardening and trellies to help supply part of the food supply to the school and to beautify the compounds around the school by providing shade and growing creepers.
We visited PSE again during the recce trip in June and the fruits of our last year's project was evident.
Here are some pictures!
An area that we did trellies was the school motocycle parking space which are used by the teachers and students that rides to school. Since there was no shelter initially, the motorcycles seats gtes pretty warm in the day. Also, the initial trees in the compound was not growing well due to lack of proper gardening skills and environment. As such, we built a mini garden around the compound and wiring so the creepers are able to grow up and provide shade for the motorcycles.
The picture on the right was the picture taken during the recce trip in June and the growth of the creepers are really wonderful and the personel in PSE actually extended the wiring from the shelter to the next building creating a canopy at the pathment below.
Vertical wiring was also one of our project that we did in PSE. The main idea of this is to beautify the classrooms blocks in the school. Wires are drilled down the classrooms corridors and creepers were plant to enable vertical gardening. When we left in december, the wiring for this is halfway through and there wasn't any plants growing yet. However, we were happy to see the wires to be filled with greenaries like the picture on the right! The plants bear products like lady's finger and chilli!
These two photos are product of the own changes PSE decided to make. When we arrive in December, this was not one of our project sites and was just an empty plot of land beside the canteen. However, during the recce trip we realise that it was turned into a garden! these 9 rows of soil is used to plant herbs, fruits and vegetables like corn. This area allows the students and teachers to be in community involvement activites and allow they to gain experience interacting and gardening. Students will help out whenever they can or are tasked to do so. We were happy that our project continues even after we left Cambodia! (:
This is a section of smile village. Smile village is where the people in the slums will live when they get eradicated form their homes. It was just a bare land when we came for the project last year and this year, there were houses up and this is where we will be working this year to bring our past experience from Edible Landscaping and from the communities in Singapore to help in the livelihood of the newly formed Village!
Introducing to you the SUP-C'13 team! You will have just as much fun or even more than what we had!(:
first and foremost, allow me to introduce ourselves. Step-Up Project Cambodia started last year where we work with Solutions To End Poverty(STEP),an NGO and their partnering school PSE. Our project is about edible landscaping where we aim to create a prototype garden that can help ease the food scarcity and beautify the school. The skills and lesson learnt from the creating of this prototype will be transferred to SMILE village which was created with the collaboration with Habitat for Humanity and Pour un Sourire d’Enfant (PSE).
A little bit about our partners:
STEP started in 2009 with the vision to create a Poverty-free, sustainable communities where people live with dignity and in harmony. STEP is currently working with Pour un Sourire d’Enfant (PSE), a NGO
in Cambodia, to relocate impoverished families, displaced due to urban
development, to SMILE vallage a 2.2 hectors of land at Dongkor district, Phnom Penh. Most of the families that lives in slums, scavenge and collect garbage for a
living, and all live in severe poverty. Hence, there is a need to locate them and build them a community. The families will also receive skills-training, community-building programs as
well as alternative livelihood programs to ensure that the community is sustainable after the NGO leave.
project, STEP is collaborating with many other NGOs besides PSE, ranging from the
Department of Landscape Architecture from the National University of Singapore
(NUS), Garden and Landscape Centre, architecture firm Collective Studio,
Grenzone and Habitat for Humanity. The significance of this project goes beyond
solving a housing problem. It is also more than rebuilding lives of an entire
community. STEP hopes that it will eventually lead to a prototype for
sustainable community development for the poor throughout Cambodia.
PSE: Pour un Sourire d'Enfant
Pour un Sourire
d'Enfant (PSE), a French humanitarian association, which has been working for
the last sixteen years in Cambodia, has a vision to empower of each Cambodian child to become a master of his or her own destiny . PSE helps extremely
impoverished children, who do not go to school, who are mistreated and forced
to work in the most distressing and dangerous conditions as scavengers. Today, PSE has more than 450 local
employees in Cambodia who are employed as teachers, trainers, social workers,
doctors, cooks, program coordinators and many others. They provide the students with education to help them break the poverty cycle and move on to improve their standard of living.
Collaborating with PSE in this project will allow participants a platform to interact and understand the combodian society better. As the students in the higher grades and vocational school is around the same age as the participants, it is easier to interact and learn from each other. Participants will also learn the roles and effectiveness of an NGO.
Here is a video of last year's project and fun!
who are we:
Qiu Quan (Year 2,Economics) Leader and Izzati (Year2, Chemsitry) Co-leader
Firstly, I would like to discuss regarding the making of the team flag. While
many of us took the matter lightly with a lot of laughs, it was noticeable that
everyone contributed some ideas to the flag, which actually represented our
goals and objectives of the whole OCIP experience. It was nice to see everyone
contribute to the flag, as some people contributed ideas to the smiles on the
flags to represent the SMILE village that we are going to serve, as well as the
inverted smiley that represents the smile that we aim to put on the villagers
faces when we go there. We also tried to incorporate the words on the goals and
objectives into our flag. These actually make our flag very representative of
our goals and objectives of heading over to Cambodia, and it served as a good
way for us to bond in a very light-hearted, non-deliberate way.
The Haiti video, and the “White Man’s
Next, I would like to discuss the Haiti video. As I watched the video, it
invoked a lot of emotions in me. I watched the 4 people put themselves bravely
out of their comfort zone to stay in Haiti for 28 days, to experience the lives
of the villagers for themselves. I felt that it would be tough for me to do
something like that, given the life that I am used to. Hence, I was full of
admiration for the 4 people who did that. I also felt that the video showed us
that it is important to find out the needs of the people first, before
we head on trying to head a project to assist them. It was also good that the 4
men tried to appreciate the way of life of the Haitians. However, I do
not necessarily support their views when they implied that the Haitians way of
life is in any way “less superior” to their own (the Americans), just because
they live on very few dollars a day, in the conditions that we saw in the show.
It shows a “White Man’s Burden” mentality, which is not very healthy for people
going down to help, although no one doubts their altruism in wanting to help
the Haitians. I think that, while such a mentality is hard to shake off, there
is a need to be aware of such a mindset. The Haitians are happy with their way
of life in general, and it was wrong to state that they are happy “even
though” they are poor.
It was also important that Chee Leong reflected upon the word “Service
Learning”. As we saw in the video, while the 4 men showed that they were merely
“learning” during the 28 days that they were in Haiti, they followed it
up with “service” after the trip, and that should be the way that things
work. In my opinion, both factors are equally important, and one should not be
given more weight than the other. Applying this to our OCIP trip, I understand
that YEP projects are important learning projects, as they work on helping us
understand the needs of the people better in overseas countries by actually
letting us go there. I feel that such projects are incorporated to inspire us
to learn, and possibly go on to do future projects, as our scope in doing much
sustainable service is limited in the mere 14 days that we are there. (Hence
they focus more on learning rather than service). Hence, I feel that while our
discussion on “Service Learning” was important, we should also keep in mind our
limitations as a YEP-initiated-project.
The need to be aware of such videos
Lastly, I would like to discuss the difficulty in ascertaining the full truth
behind such videos, as Chee Leong pointed out. While such videos are obviously
the truth, we must also be aware that it only represents parts of the truth,
as with all documentaries. However, while it is important to be discerning
about such videos, I also felt that, by thinking too much about such videos, we
might end up being too cynical of them, or even numb about the happenings
overseas, which is equally unhealthy as compared to believing everything they
say at face value – Just some thoughts as I considered this point.
It's been 2
weeks since I've been a part of this team and I'm rather thankful that
everyone is really nice, friendly and open to one another. I feel a
really good vibe. I like the fact
that we started off sharing our weekend instead of just diving into
discussion about the trip, because it helps to build friendships, more
than a work relationship. Honestly I am rather nervous because it takes
time for me to open up to people, and I am afraid that I can't click
with most people in this team because over the years I've realised that
there are only a few people who can truly understand me see things from
my point of view. (And I realised many people are from USP and already
know each other, which makes me feel even more nervous) But I really do
want to feel comfortable in this team so I guess I'll have to learn to
trust and open up to everyone! What I hope for the group dynamics of
this team is for everyone to be open to each other and frank with one
another with minimal judging so that we can truly build strong
for the discussion about the trip, it was rather chill, probably
because it was only week 2 (: But it got really confusing with the whole
setting of objectives and goals thing, probably because we had
different definitions of learning and personal growth, but I'm glad we
sorted that out together as a team. I honestly still think that personal
growth is something subjective and something that we can only discover
on our own! One of the worries I have about future discussions is that
we will have more disagreements and it might make the planning less
efficient if everyone keeps sticking to their own views? I am generally
someone who is very open to other opinions and perspectives, and I hope
everyone would be as well. Disagreements would probably occur more often
during the later course of this planning but as long as we get together
as one team at the end of the day, it's fine and we'll all move forward
together. As for my own perspective of personal growth, I must say it's
really just to learn how to look beyond myself, see the happenings of a
place outside of my comfort zone, and to learn something that I can
never learn while I'm studying. And knowing that I am doing a part in
making the lives of the Cambodians better (no matter how small my role
is) is a form of emotional growth for me. So that really sums up how
excited I am for this trip and how ready my heart is!
think our team consists of people of different lifestyles, character
and perceptions, which is a good thing because we can learn from each
other and contribute in so many different ways. I'm really looking
forward to what we can achieve as a group and I hope everyone can
achieve their own personal growth at the end of everything. And of
course I hope we can provide real meaningful and sustainable help to the