Friday, 7 November 2014

Halloween fundraising

This year, we decided to celebrate halloween differently. In conjunction with USP cinnamon college event in CTPH, we set up a photo booth with our life size super heroes!

Thank you everyone who came down and support! I am sure the team had a lot of fun planning, executing and wrapping up the whole event.

our very own OH-SO-BUFF heroes!

Till the journey continues next time!(:

Monday, 25 August 2014

For more Information

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.

click on this to find out more!

Monday, 18 August 2014

project then and now

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!(:

Saturday, 9 August 2014

SUP-C running for the second year!

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. 

For this 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

Friday, 18 October 2013



Written by: Varun Khemaney (Pol Sci, Year 3) 

SUP-C Flag

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 Burden”

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.

Service Learning

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.



Written by: Zheng Xiao Han (Life Sciences, Year 1)

The video screened “4 Guys Live on $1 per day for 28 days in Haiti - 1
Dollar Poverty” was rather thought provoking. The most immediate response I
had was the feelings evoked upon seeing the appalling state and condition of
living in Haiti post-earthquake. However, the fact was that a large proportion
of Haitians were already living in absolute poverty before the earthquake-58%
live on less than a dollar a day and 78% live on less than two dollars a day.
I definitely found the four guys’ intention admirable and inspiring, they
were willing to place themselves in the shoes of Haitians to better understand
their plight, needs, and how they can be helped. Poverty cannot be solved
overnight and is an evil cycle, which many in under-developed countries
are trapped within. The guys went there with the intention of learning how
to help the Haitians, and came back with a better idea of how they can
help by understanding that a lack of jobs, money, and infrastructure were
problems pervading the Haitians’ lives and preventing upward social mobility.
They converted what they have learnt into practical plans to help by setting
up Poverty Resolutions to promote sustainable help for the Haitians via
campaigning efforts, and raise awareness about global poverty. Sustainability
and global education are two extremely crucial ideas that can and will bring
about the up lifting of the poor from poverty.

Bringing these ideas back to our community involvement project to be
held in Cambodia, there were several concepts, which are applicable such as
steps leading to the implementation of their expedition. They set ground rules
and managed their expectations and fears, while keeping in mind their own
limitations and needs. Similarly, we need to set goals and objectives for our
project, and be aware of the limitations of our efforts when we set off to

The video reflection was followed by a discussion on two questions
“Is it self-centered to only learn?” and “We can’t serve the community with our
efforts. Discuss.” I believe both questions are highly contextual so my stand for
the first is maybe. Though it depends on the context, I feel that it is more selfish
for an individual to think that he is helping when he is actually benefitting more
from his so-called “help”. However, it is difficult to justify and define what “help”
and benefits can mean. While for the second question, I simply feel that any
effort at all can be considered service to the community, as long as it is carried
out with good will.

With slightly less than three months to our Cambodia trip, I hope the
phase leading up to our trip will adequately prepare us for what is in store.



Written by: Melanie Liang (Psychology, Year 2)
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 friendships. 

As 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!

I 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 Cambodians. :D

Good job to week 2, cheers to more weeks ahead!