"Sikh community is a vibrant component of Singaporean society" Amrin Amin

“The Sikh community is a vibrant component of our society and has a long tradition of serving the larger community, such as through providing food and shelter at the gurdwaras,” asserted Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Home Affairs of Singapore Amrin Amin while speaking at the certificate presentation ceremony to honour the volunteers who played a pivotal role in transformation of a village school located in the Indian State of Punjab.

Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Home Affairs of Singapore Amrin Amin along with volunteers of YSA during the certificate presentation ceremony in Singapore.
Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Home Affairs of Singapore Amrin Amin along with volunteers of YSA during the certificate presentation ceremony in Singapore. Photo courtesy: YSA

Lauding the role of Sikhs in Singaporean society, he said, “The Sikh number between 10,000 and 12,000 in Singapore, but the community’s contributions to Singapore have been significant.”

The Secretary was quite upbeat about volunteers of Young Sikh Association (YSA), Singapore who gave a new look to the Rattoke village school in Sangrur district of Punjab and brought smiles to the faces of children studying in the school.

Amrin Amin speaking at the certificate presentation ceremony in Singapore for honouring the volunteers of YSA who transformed a village school of Punjab.
Amrin Amin speaking at the certificate presentation ceremony in Singapore for honouring the volunteers of YSA who transformed a village school of Punjab. Photo courtesy: YSA

Twenty young Singaporeans, led by a veteran leader, participated in a journey of selfless and charitable service in aid of underprivileged and needy children of Punjab.

The volunteers comprising of multi-racial Singaporeans spent three weeks in December 2017 as part of the YSA’s Project Khwaish XVII community service at the Government School in Ratoke village.

The volunteers of YSA developed a full-fledged library in the school and stocked it with various books.
The volunteers of YSA developed a full-fledged library in the school and stocked it with various books. Photo courtesy: YSA

During the three-week project, the volunteers helped in developing a full-fledged library as well as sprucing up and repainting the whole school. They helped level the ground so that it would not flood and prevent the students for attending classes and they bought fans and lights to make the classrooms conducive for the students.

The whole team also donated a power generator as well as a water purifier so that the school would have access to regular electricity and clean water.

The children of the Ratoke village school along with YSA volunteers. Photo courtesy: YSA
The children of the Ratoke village school along with YSA volunteers. Photo courtesy: YSA

Interestingly, YSA has successfully embarked on and completed 16 such projects in Punjab since 2003.

Praising the efforts of YSA volunteers, Amrin Amin said, “The expedition team was made up of participants from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds. By working together, I am sure that your efforts have impacted the local community in Rattoke Village in a positive and meaningful way.”

“At the same time, I am certain that it was an enriching experience for the team members, opening their eyes to the plight of others and teaching them the important life lesson of offering a helping hand to those in need and giving back to the community,” he added.

One of the participant of Khwaish Project sharing her experience about her journey to India and the transformation of the village school.
One of the participant of Khwaish Project sharing her experience about her journey to India and the transformation of the village school. Photo courtesy: YSA

The volunteers also shared their experience about their journey to India and the interaction with the villagers and the children. One of the participant, Rajveen Kaur said, “The kids may not have the state of the art technology and facilities in schools but they had talent and were hungry to succeed… I hope that the library we left them with will serve as a good starting point to seize opportunities in India and the larger world.”

The participants of the Khwaish Project have developed a full-fledged library in the school and stocked it with various books. The library will open a new window of knowledge for the kids of the school.

Some of the murals painted on the walls of the new library of the school.
Some of the murals painted on the walls of the new library of the school. Photo courtesy: YSA

Faraaz Amzar, another volunteer of the project summed up the novel experience of their life. He said, “As we landed at Changi Airport, we realized that the project had left such a deep positive imprint and impression. From the people we met to the warmth and hospitality we received from the people of Punjab, each and every day taught us something new.

Team of YSA at the farewell ceremony held at the school in Punjab upon completion of the project.
Team of YSA at the farewell ceremony held at the school in Punjab upon completion of the project. Photo courtesy: YSA

“We went there with a one thing in mind – to give. However, we received much more in return. Ultimately, Project Khwaish XVII taught us the importance of offering a helping hand to those in need and giving back to the community,” he concluded.

Author
Ashraf Jamal
Ashraf Jamal – Senior Writer

Ashraf Jamal brings a rare depth to writing equipped with a degree in journalism, a postgraduate degree in political science, and a degree in law from the Allahabad University. His experience includes editing and publishing the Northern India Patrika and writing for Times of India for almost a decade covering just about any topic under the sun including NRIs and Indian diaspora.

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