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Beyond the confines of the classroom

The love they left behind

On the morning of 15 September 2011, the CLS Beijing Huairou HOPE Team gathered at Changi Airport, ready to embark on their Youth Expedition Project (YEP) trip. This was a two week community service project led by Ms Jessy Yau and Miss Joanne Lin from CLS. They were ready to refurbish the kindergarten, interact with the children and share with the Chinese teachers some useful IT skills.


As the Chinese saying goes, “入乡随俗”. It means that in Rome, do as the Romans. In China, do as the Chinese! The local practices in Chawu were intriguing for all. From noon to mid afternoon, the district turned extremely quiet because it was a common napping time for all.

The beginning is never easy. Or so they thought. When the team marched into the classroom on the first day, some of the children were jumping with joy! As days passed, the team made progress with their project. The interior wall was painted with vibrant colors of rainbow and a happy family. The school gate had a fresh coat of paint. Every night, the teachers stayed behind to learn more about IT skills from the YEP students. The team also assisted in the planning and execution of the first ever parent’s forum in Chawu Kindergarten.


Departing was never easy. Tears rolled down when it was time to say good bye. The YEP students learnt more about rural China and the values of the Chinese. They had also discovered more about their personal strength and weaknesses. Back in their mind, this project might have concluded, but it was also the beginning of their friendship with the children and teachers of Chawu Kindergarten!


“I feel that even though I am just an ordinary girl and it is almost impossible to change the world, I can make a difference to one person or a few persons’ lives. We can do omething for the community if we would just try :) ”

Charmaine Ang Hwee Gek
Diploma in Biomedical Science Year 1 student


“This YEP is my first and best experience I ever had. It showed me how life can be improved when we help them and they experience breakthrough and will do their best to keep growing.”

Adin Sucipto
Diploma in Chemical Engineering Year 3 student


A typical day at Chawu Kindergarten.
A typical day at Chawu Kindergarten.

YEP students painting the school gate.
YEP students painting the school gate.

Children in Chawu  gathered  for the closing ceremony.
Children in Chawu gathered  for the closing ceremony.

A performance by the YEP students.
A performance by the YEP students.

YEP students getting ready for the grand show!
YEP students getting ready for the grand show!

A group photo
A group photo.

Click here to watch a video on the YEP trip to Chawu Kindergarten.