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Brief Description of the Projects Goals and Objectives
The refurbishing of classrooms and prayer halls by painting a new coat of paint and cleaning works in order to provide a cleaner learning environment for the villagers. Cleaning works also includes removing old, unwanted furniture and re-fitting of old furniture to remove dust and prevent the furniture from falling apart which may injure children using them. Apart from that, we washed the grimed and muddy toilets and cleared the foul odour that came from the toilet. The team created rhyming poems for the children so that they can easily remember the steps that they should take to wash their hands before an activity, for example, before meals. We also introduced the use of soap water basin that prevents the child from wasting too much water from the washing of hands. From this activity we aim to inculcate the habit of washing hands for hygienic purposes. The fundraising for the new kindergarten building in Yang Zhai village was done in Singapore. The major donations came from sponsors from organisations and companies that we seek from. Besides that, we did fundraising ourselves by selling ice-cream and bubble tea on weeks 7 and 9 of semester 1, year 2010/2011 of the academic calendar. We also worked with Zamzam Singapore to sell food coupons in a bid to raise more funds in order to contribute to the kindergarten building in Yang Zhai.

The organization that we are working with, Xiji Welfare Charity Centre has discovered that many villagers are in fact sharing the same space as their farm animals. This is especially true in Yang Zhai Village where the living condition that these villagers live in are unhygienic and could lead to the spread of dangerous outbreaks or diseases. What we did was, for every room that we had painted, we removed all furniture and carpeting before we started painting. While some of us did the painting, the others helped in the dusting of the carpet and the sweeping of the floors. We also ensured that we do not do double work by cleaning the floors only after we have painted the section of the wall. This is also to remove any paint that had dripped onto the floor. Being in the Welfare Sub-Committee, I was tasked to take care of the morale of the students whether be it by providing food or by providing encouragement. Working alongside the welfare head, we sourced for goodies that improves the morale of the team. Since we asked for some money to be allocated to the welfare fund, we purchased tidbits and some novelties to keep the team going. Yes, I am not dismissing the fact that this may be an intangible thing that may not be measurable, but, the fact that the whole team continued to push on with the project despite the harsh conditions showed that the team remained high in spirits. We also encouraged team members to push one another in order to achieve the team's objectives and goals. esides that, I was also made in-charge of the cultural performance that was done during the cultural exchange portion of the trip. We did a dikir barat performance and our practice sessions were held in Singapore prior to the trip to China. We made a point to practise and rehearse out steps after every meeting so that we can easily recall our steps and lyrics to the song. We also had a just in time sort of rehearsal the night before our performance at Yang Zhai Village. In total we performed in three occasions namely, the Yang Zhai Village farewell ceremony, the Hei Si Wah Village ceremony and the opening ceremony at a University in Zhao Tong.
As mentioned, the bulk of our project is to introduce a new alternative for the villagers to adopt with regards to matters pertaining to hygiene. This hygiene issue is prevalent in both villages. As such, we have done cleaning works, held hygiene classes and also a health screening to advise them the importance of being hygienic. This can also be applied to Singapore where we must not take the cleanliness that we have here for granted. Also mentioned above, during our time in Singapore before we went over to Yunnan, China, we had to do fundraising. This is our action to the beneficiary's need of funding over at Yang Zhai village. We also, sourced for external sponsors that were willing to provide funding for us. And the amount of funding that we achieved is by itself an achievement as we received is very significant.
What Did I Learn in the Process? (about myself, my values and outlook on volunteerism) * 1 I learnt that I have developed my trait of being able to adapt to any situation that is put forth in front of me. I am saying this because through the experiences that I have had from serving the country in Army to working as a temporary staff to studying and now to experience a different country and environment, this trait that I have, has improves. It goes to show that being an adaptable person, ability to adapt to the changes in environment, would mean that I am versatile and dynamic.

2 I felt that after the trip, my values did not change much because the values that I have carried with me since I was born cannot be changed with just one trip in the space of 2 weeks. However, I must say that this trip and the entire process of making this trip happen has strengthened my values. One of which is my interpersonal skill. I feel that I have always been a relationship-oriented person and this trip enforced that character of mine. I found that I tend not to get into quarrels or be too task-oriented but rather, build up relationships with people to make sure that despite being far away from Singapore, the team still had the motivation to carry on the project and the task at hand. This explains why I am in the welfare team.

3 Bearing in mind that the project was catered to the needs of the villages, we allocated one day to recce both the locations and to see if what is planned is actually what the villagers need. When we arrived at Hei Si Wah Village, we could see that the village is mostly done up. There, the group realized that change would be the only constant during the course of doing the project. It may sound cliché that this saying is often repeated but this expedition really taught the group to adapt and be flexible to the changes that occurs throughout the trip. The thing that they needed was a new coat of paint for the dormitories, classrooms and their library. This was different from the objective that was initially drafted which was just to tidy up the rooms at Hei Si Wah Village. As I have heard from my peers that went to different countries for their community involvement projects, most learnt that the project was not according to what was planned, not because of poor planning but more so of the situation and the working conditions there. Having learnt this, my outlook on volunteerism will be that of being mentally and physically prepared for changes especially when doing overseas community involvement project. However, this may or may not apply to local community involvement projects.

*The attachment was meaningful: Yes No

*The supervisor provided good guidance: Yes No

*You would recommend the organization to your friends: Yes No

*Was training provided: Yes No

*You were given adequate resources for you to handle your assignments/projects: Yes No

Feedback on the Organization and Your Volunteering Experience

Perhaps, a briefing or pictures that shows the living conditions of the villages could be shown to those going for an overseas community involvement programme there so that these people may get a rough idea of what and how the living conditions is like there. This is to mentally prepare them for the conditions that they will be living in.
Would you be contributing some more in this particular sector? Yes/N
Yes, because it helps me develop the important skill of being adaptable in different situations. I also enjoy working with people especially in trips involving community service. Apart from that, it helps me appreciate whatever I have in life and not take things for granted.

Skills You Feel You Need to Develop that were Highlighted Through this Experience

Communication skills : Even though I have a good interpersonal skill, sometimes, due to my lack of command of the English Language, whatever that I said may not be something that I intended to say. This skill is especially important in doing presentations or in class participation as it is hard for me to put my points across. It is also much more relevant when I am applying for jobs and going through interviews. I feel that this could be improved through communicating with more people and reading.
Strike a balance between relationship-oriented and task-oriented: I felt that during the trip and throughout the process of this CSP I have been a relationship-oriented person. This could sometimes be bad as I tend to motivate people and create good relationships over the task at hand. This could be a detriment as I may affect the team's efficiency. However, I felt that I have improved and balanced this aspect after going through the leadership and teambuilding module. Being more flexible: Despite being someone who is relationship-oriented, I tend to be organised but sometimes too organised. I like structure and the smooth flowing of tasks being executed especially planning for contingencies so that there are back-ups so that the project does not fail. However, I can also strike a balance between being organised and being flexible so that I would not be perceived as being too rigid.…...

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