Singapore-based Indian-origin youths to renovate village school in Punjab

About 20 Indian-origin youths in Singapore are gearing up to spend their three-week vacation in the Indian state of Punjab to help rebuild a village school as part of their social work.

These youths are going under a programme christened ‘Project Khwaish’, an initiative of the Young Sikh Association (YSA) based in Singapore. They will live along with the locals in Ratokke village in Punjab’s Sangrur district and help in renovating a rundown school in that village. The programme will start from December 9.

Setting a novel example, these youths, in the age group of 18 and 21 years, will be involved in refurbishing the school, painting the classrooms, developing a library, and interacting with the children and the local community. They will also visit places of cultural interest in Punjab, including the Golden Temple in Amritsar and the Wagah Border.

The youths will live in Ratokke village in Punjab’s Sangrur district and help in renovating a school of that village.
The youths will live in Ratokke village in Punjab’s Sangrur district and help in renovating a school of that village. Photo courtesy: YSA

Satnam Singh, founder of the YSA, said, “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.”

He added, “They will also distribute stationery to students and clothes as well as other necessities to poor villagers.”

Notably, Project Khwaish is the flagship programme of the YSA which was started in 2003. The Ratokke village school will be the 17th school to be re-built and repaired with different teams of young volunteers. Project Khwaish is similar to the Youth Expedition Project, a service-learning programme which sets out to nurture confident and socially-conscious young people

Under the programme, about 20 youths from Singapore go to Punjab every year in December and help with the renovation of a village school. Part of the funds for the project come from Singapore's National Youth Council, while the volunteers raise the rest.

Singh concluded, “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.”

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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