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Project Mingalabar by Ruth Khaw

This self-initiated project by a group of young 13 year olds is an inheritance of the Apostle’s spirit despite their age. How proud the parents must be!

This project is titled Project Mingalabar, which means ‘Hello’ in Burmese.

There are seven girls in our group, Tan Junn Faye, Andrea Nelson, Clarinda Ong, Amanda Yap, Rebekah Seow, Vivienne Teo and myself. We are from CHIJ St Nicholas Girls’ School Sec 2 and we spent the latter half of 2014 completing this project.

The aim was to raise money to help the Salesian Sisters build a kindergarten in Yangon.

Our plan was to raise funds through our parish church, Christ the King and also through the Parents’ Support Group at school as well as with the Catholic Parents’ network at St Nicholas. We sold handmade Christmas mats and handicrafts done by the Sisters and girls at the vocational centre outside Mandalay. At the same time we also appealed to the parishioners and parents to sponsor and donate a solar lamp to the needy families in Myanmar.

Dr Irene Lee, founder of the Little Suns (a solar powered LED light, designed to bring light to the world’s rural poor) generously agreed to donate $15 from the proceeds of each lamp sold. The amount collected is to be contributed to the building fund for the new kindergarten in Yangon.

In the end, we managed to raise about S$7,000 in total.

But we did not do it on our own. We had the help of our loving parents who helped us with the logistics, negotiations etc They also helped us on the day, providing us with the much needed manpower.

During the course of the project, we had tons of fun, especially when we met up at each other’s houses. After our discussions, we would have fellowship and bonding time ; )

It is interesting that in the beginning, we barely knew each other but after the project we grew fast friends. Through all the fun we had, our discussions and lengthy meetings, after all we had gone through; we were overjoyed when the amount raised was twice the amount we had anticipated.

We decided to help ACTS Myanmar because I have been to Myanmar twice before and are familiar with the Salesian Sisters there.

Seeing the prevalent poverty in Myanmar and the difficult living conditions there. And seeing the love and care the Salesian Sisters have for the children, we would like the same loving support to be available for the children in Yangon with the new Kindergarten.

Most of all, we are students from CHIJ school and because of our pioneer IJ Sisters’ love and perseverance, we are able to have so many IJ schools today in Singapore.

Thus, we would like to pay it forward by giving the same opportunity that has been given to us, to the kindergarten children in Yangon.