Achievements and projects
Interact Club District Award 2012-2013
Best Interact Club Project Award ( Merit) 2015-2016
Best Interact Club Project Award (Gold) 2017-2018
Edward Tan (Class 6.03)
During the March Holidays of 2018, the Interact Club organised and went for an overseas values-in-action (OVIA) Trip to Guilin. We painted the walls of many of the classrooms and cleaned, as well as planned and carried out some lessons and games for the children there.
This trip really opened my eyes to the level of poverty some people in the world had to suffer and live through. In this rural area, evidence of poverty was everywhere – from lack of proper infrastructure, to worn out houses and the lack of modern equipment. The school we visited lacked a lot of resources that our school here in Singapore had access to. We also had the chance to visit some of the locals, who attended the school, to give them some basic necessities. When we saw the houses these people lived in, and compared them to our houses in Singapore, it was strikingly clear that the people here were much less well off. This has allowed me to be much more grateful of everything I have been given access to, and I hope to be able to enact change to bless other people who are less privileged than us.
One thing that I noticed whilst visiting was how much the school lacked resources, and thus likely proved to be a less than conducive environment for the children to learn and receive a proper education. I believe that our small action of painting the walls of the school white, whilst helping a little, was not very effective in enacting change in the situation of the children studying there. I feel that should we have the opportunity to in the future, we should do as much as we can for the people there.
The service was both physically and mentally taxing. Painting the walls of the classrooms was quite physically taxing, especially when I had to use the bamboo poles to paint the tall areas of the classrooms. Dealing and attending to the otherwise rowdy children required a lot of energy, and while it was very rewarding, it undoubtedly demanded perseverance to be completed.
My group, which dealt specifically with children at the Primary 1 Level, faced a lot of challenges. During lessons, the kids were always upset over small things like accidentally hitting one another. This forced me into a situation where I had to settle the dispute quickly and peacefully to prevent any further impulsive consequences. While I have dealt with kids before, leading children as young as Primary 1 proved very challenging, as they had a very short attention span, and were rather violent as compared to the older children. I learned to maintain a balance between being nice and friendly and being authoritative when it was required. Eventually, the children began to listen to us when we employed such a strategy.
After this trip, I believe that I should work on my degree of preparation going into any activity. When it was time for lessons with the children, our group was noticeably underprepared, both logistically as well as in terms of our knowledge of what to say or show. I hope I can work on being more prepared in the future, both academically and on all other fronts.
A key skill I learned through this trip was how to improvise. Owing to our under preparedness, we were forced to think on our feet, keeping the children occupied. This allowed them to remain engaged and entertained, and enjoy themselves in the process. For instance, when we were missing the logistics for a science experiment, we killed the time by playing games like musical chairs to allow the kids to continue having fun.
Overall, this OVIA trip has provided me many opportunities to learn the complete process of serving others, from planning activities to executing them well, and learning more about myself and developing my worldview in the process.