Hoping to make a sustainable difference to a school in Yangon, Myanmar, 24 students from NTU Hall of Residence 9 embarked on a two-week Overseas Community Involvement Project trip from 2 to 15 June 2019.
Their beneficiary was Parami Nunnery School, an institute that teaches 10 grades of study from Kindergarten to Grade 9. The team extensively planned and carried out teaching sessions for the students, curating the material to the 10 grades.
In addition, they also did their part in a master plan to improve the school’s condition and space – the space for each class was limited due to the many grades, with the school teaching around 185 students in total.
The volunteers helped out in the construction and remodelling of the building. Much time was spent on relaying the floor tiles, which would then allow the school to expand and build other necessary facilities, such as the bathroom. Upon the plan’s completion, the school’s learning environment will be more conducive for their students, with Project Spreading Smiles’ work being a part of this change.
During this time in Myanmar, the participants also made an effort to reach out and connect with their beneficiaries. Although interactions between them and students were tentative and language barriers hindered some of the deeper interactions, the volunteers found that even simple gestures and hand signs were still able to convey meanings across to both sides.
The trip was found to be an experience that touched the hearts of the Hall 9 residents, as they watched how content and happy the locals were, with what little they had compared to the offerings back home. As the participants of Project Spreading Smiles took away precious memories and insightful nuggets of knowledge back home with them, they hope that their contribution will be able to make a significant and enduring improvement to the lives of Parami Nunnery School students. After all, as one of the volunteers reflected post-trip, “it is the journey, not the destination, that matters”.
“Participating in Project Spreading Smiles was like looking at a mirror to my childhood days. After interacting with the children, I reflected that the joys in life may not be that complex after all, and the gift of happiness can also stem from the giving of it.” Zong Xuan, Student Volunteer
About NTU Hall of Residence 9
Founded in 1994, the NTU Hall of Residence 9 consists of 4 blocks and has 600 residents including freshmen, seniors and hall fellows. Hall 9 participates actively in the various Inter-Hall competitions held annually. In addition to the competitive teams, the hall also has numerous sub-committees and special committess, where residents can contribute to the hall or society, as well as interact with other residents.