SINGAPORE: Twenty Indian-origin youths in Singapore are gearing up to spend their three-week vacation this month in Punjab to help rebuild a village school as part of their social work, a media report said today.
Aged between 18 and 21 years, they hail from different ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds and will live with the locals in Ratokke village in Punjab’s Sangrur district as they paint and renovate a run-down school from December 9.
The programme has shaped up under Project ‘Khwaish’, an initiative of the Young Sikh Association (YSA), a non-profit organisation founded by Satwant Singh in Singapore, The Sunday Times reported.
“At Ratokke, these students will be building a library and stocking it with 3,000 books, installing a water filtration system to ensure clean water there and reconstructing the school’s mouldy and dilapidated toilets,” Mr Singh said.
“They will also distribute stationery to students and clothes as well as other necessities to poor villagers,” he added.
Project Khwaish is the flagship programme of the YSA which was started in 2003.
The YSA takes cue from the Youth Expedition Project, a service-learning programme which sets out to nurture confident and socially-conscious young people, said Mr Singh, a lawyer who has been doing community service for 20 years.
Mr Singh said he has been doing this service every December for the past 14 years. The Ratokke village school will be the 17th school to be re-built and repaired with different teams of young volunteers.
Part of the funds for the project come from Singapore’s National Youth Council, with Mr Singh and his volunteers raising the rest.
“The youths will live together, eat together, sleep on the floor together, learn to live as one entity. The common interest and goal is to do good,” said Mr Singh, who is in his early 50s.