Left: CHIJ Secondary (Toa Payoh) students teaching English to children in Payatas, Philippines, through activities. Below: A CHIJ teacher conducts a science class in Yangon.

Seventy-two students from CHIJ Secondary (Toa Payoh) and more than 10 staff members from the primary and secondary schools visited neighbouring countries recently in a volunteer project.

The programme, IJ Beacon (short for “Be Emphathisers And Champions Of the Needy”) was set up in 2007 to enable the secondary school staff and students to reach out to disadvantaged students locally and overseas.

From Nov 7-11, four teachers and 24 students went to Siem Reap, Cambodia, where they visited three villages, a farm and a Missionaries of Charity home.

The students engaged the children with activities as such colouring, decorating puppets and masks, and origami. The village children also participated in interactive songs. At the end of each visit, each Cambodian child received a goodie bag.

From Nov 14-18, 26 students and four teachers visited Kampot, also in Cambodia, where they interacted with children at the Kampot Mission Centre, run by Fr Un Som, and at the Chum Kiri mission centre, run by Fr Gianluca. The Singaporeans also visited the Banteay Prieb Centre for landmine victims and polio patients and two Missionaries of Charity centres.

Helping children in Siem Reap, Cambodia, make a hand puppet.

On Nov 19, five teachers from the primary and secondary schools went on a mission trip to Yangon, Myanmar. At the Pyinya Sanyae Institute of Education (PSIE), teachers from the primary school conducted workshops for trainee teachers on storytelling and writing lesson plans, while other teachers taught science.

The teachers also visited the Nyaung-Don Boarding School, in a rural area of Yangon, which has 53 children aged 11 to 17.

From Nov 21-25, three teachers and 22 students visited Payatas in the Philippines. The students taught in the Paaralang Pantao (School of Humanity) centres and visited a home for the elderly. They taught the Filipino children to campaign against drugs and to stand up for their rights.

The Singaporeans also visited the Anawin home for the elderly where they entertained residents with songs and spent time conversing with them.

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