Sunday, December 14, 2008

Ms Lim Ann Chi, Special Educator & SIF Volunteer

Would you give up your job, your income, the comforts of life and securities of home to be a volunteer? Being a volunteer more often than not, means something's got to give. There's always an opportunity cost to doing something because you will be forsaking something else. You've not only got to have a big heart, but a matching appetite for risk and adventure.

Last week, I met several Singaporeans who fit the bill. For them, Cambodia is home - some for a specific period, others indefinitely.

The Living Room went to Phnom Penh last week and my first stop was at a centre for mental health where I met Lim Ann Chi (left) who's a volunteer trainer in special education. She's there under the Singapore Volunteers Overseas (SVO) programme of the Singapore International Foundation (SIF).

There were many pieces of evidence that young Singaporeans had visited this centre. There was the obstacle course (see photo above) that was erected by Pioneer Junior College students, then there was the EcoGarden at the edge of the compound that was planted by Republic Polytechnic students.

(left) RGS girls had also come through the gates; the cheerfully painted murals on a building's outer wall gave it away.

It was wonderful being in a rural village in Takmau province and seeing the handiwork left behind fellow Singaporeans. Just being there and seeing all the work that's been done and that's being done warms my heart.

(left) During my interview with Ann Chi, I couldn't help but be fascinated by the solid wooden furniture we sat on. It sure beats the flimsy and creaky plastic ones we use here, despite them being adjustable to fit your height.

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