AT THE invitation of The Boys’ Brigade of Singapore, a team of 10 teachers and an administrative staff member from the Methodist School of Music (MSM) visited the Boys’ Brigade Learning Centre (BBLC) in Siem Reap, Cambodia.
The four-day visit from Sept 17 to 20 enabled them to gain a first-hand experience of the needs of Cambodian youth and the work being done in the BBLC.
The MSM plans to help establish a music programme at the BBLC. Jessica Leong, an MSM teaching associate, gives a reflection on their experience with the BBLC.
“It was very hot in Siem Reap, and we were advised to be very careful about food and water, and to drink enough fluids to prevent dehydration. Despite these “challenges”, 11 staff members from the Methodist School of Music went on a mission project to the BBLC to explore the possibility of helping to establish a structured music programme spearheaded by the BB in Singapore.
Since 2001, the Boys’ Brigade has been serving the people in Cambodia through the BB Youth Expedition Project (BB YEP) with support from the Singapore International Foundation (SIF).
In 2003, the youth organisation began a longterm project to establish the BB Learning Centre, located in Prayut Village, Pouk Commune, Pouk District, in Siem Reap Province in Cambodia. It is equipped with basic sanitation and accommodation facilities and caters to the needs of the surrounding communities with special emphasis on programmes for the youth and community healthcare.
Although it was a short trip, we ventured out of our comfort zones into one which would almost have resulted in a “cultural shock”. But we were prepared to make personal adjustments and to try to live simply. Many felt that the trip was a good opportunity to deepen their relationship with God and become more aware of the needs of the people around them.
During a one-day class, which included recorder-playing lessons, singing and rhythm, the teachers established relationships with the students, and bonded with them. The students were eager to learn, and their responsiveness was overwhelming.
I had never experienced such expressions of appreciation throughout my teaching career as I did that day. My recollections of Cambodia are filled with fond memories and joy.
Through this article, I hope to encourage more teachers to join in our mission, and more importantly, to make their lives count for God.”
The MSM staff plan to visit the BBLC three times a year to help establish a music programme there. They hope that this will help the school minister to the youth and children in the surrounding commune near the BBLC.
The budget for such a project is about S$6,000, and the MSM welcomes contributions. Please contact the MSM at tel: 6767-5258, or email: email@example.com”