Photo Credits to the I’mPAC Team
By Natalie Devan and Huang Xin
After a one-year hiatus, Project I’mPAC returned in 2017 with 28 NUS High students and 4 teacher chaperones making the trip to Siem Reap, Cambodia to volunteer at Khnat Primary School on the 26th of November for a week.
Fundraising efforts began months before the trip – student volunteers set up booths in the canteen, held a carwash and accepted donations from staff and students. The booths also gave other NUSH students an opportunity to be a part of this experience by personalising a banner meant for Khnat Primary School. The completed banner is currently proudly on display in the school’s learning centre that incidentally, our students had also helped to renovate.
Upon arriving at Khnat Primary School, the volunteers spent the first night in a hotel. Thereafter, they travelled a long distance to spend five nights in the village where Khnat Primary School is located – away from technology, away from family and friends and away from their usual lifestyles back at home. Over the course of the next five days, they turned a bicycle shelter into a learning centre, taught the children English and played with them.
Additionally, some volunteers also went around the village to talk to families in the area and asked them about their lives and living conditions (i.e access to clean water, electricity, food supplies and other necessities). This was an attempt to learn about their needs so that the next batch of volunteers would have something positive to contribute.
Kenneth, one of our student volunteers also shared some interesting memories such as the experience of showering in a shed with a cattle tied to the door on the outside or being kept up by the ceaseless croaking of frogs outside their bedrooms.
Travelling to another country to help the underprivileged is a very rare opportunity and the students are truly grateful that they were given a chance to make a positive impact on the children of Khnat Primary School. Despite the culture shock and obstacles they faced, they had a meaningful experience and made a difference to the children’s lives, which was probably the most rewarding part of the trip.