In the midst of its ongoing disaster relief engagements in Thailand, Cambodia and the Philippines due to the widespread flooding in Southeast Asia, Mercy Relief (MR) managed to see the scheduled completion of one of its sustainable development projects in Indonesia.  Together with the South Sumatran Department of Education and the Centre of Social Enterprise and Management Studies (CSEMS), Singapore’s own and only regional humanitarian relief and development organisation completed its first run of ‘English for Everyone’ (EFE) project in the South Sumatran capital of Palembang.  Incidentally, the completion, which coincides with the Opening of this Friday’s 26th SEA Games in Palembang, would allow the thousands of student and teacher participants to better welcome and communicate with the athletes, guests and visitors from the region.  Several of the teachers from the EFE project have been selected to represent Palembang as liaison officers at the Games.

The 6-month Project, participated by 50 teachers and 6,800 students from 50 primary and high schools, includes a two-prong approach. First, introducing an improved and appropriate teaching methodology called the Teachers of English Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) through a series of teachers training workshops.  Thereafter, the teachers were guided in their deliveries to the students, with the focus on activity-based teaching and instilling higher confidence in the students to learn and use English.

This is MR’s fifth run of the EFE project since its inception in October 2009, after successfully completing the first three in Vietnam and the fourth in Laos, benefiting more than 40,670 students and 333 teachers in total over at the three countries.

MR’s five focus sectors for its larger International Development Programme are water & sanitation, shelter, livelihood, healthcare and education.  For education, the Singaporean born humanitarian NGO believes that the limit of a man’s language may limit his world.   The EFE project is committed to equip the young with the necessary and relevant knowledge and understanding of the English language, which would place them in better stead to gain access to broader and valuable information which is substantially contained within the English medium.  The emphasis is also on the need to be confident on and comfortable with the usage of the English language.

Speaking to more than 300 students, teachers and provincial education officials at the inauguration ceremony, MR Chief Executive Hassan Ahmad said, “With English, you have opened yourselves to greater opportunities and explore more platforms in an inter-connected world and economy. As a universal language, English is able to help enhance communication between global communities, which could bring about better awareness and appreciation of our differences and commonalities, possibly boosting cooperation and harmony.”

The event included a competition which saw the students showcasing their confidence and proficiency in English, which were evident through the performances such as sketch, dances and other audio-visual presentations on the various aspects of South Sumatran life.

On the sides, the 6-man MR team in Palembang was given a private tour of the SEA Games athletes’ village and sporting facilities and a preview of the lights display for this Friday’s opening of the 26th SEA Games.  The team also witnessed the arrival of the SEA Games’ Torch which landed at the Boom Baru Port on a sea vessel from Jakarta, under the invitation of the South Sumatran Governor, Alex Noerdin.

MR CE Hassan Ahmad being received by South Sumatran Governor Alex Noerdin at Boom Baru Port to welcome the SEA Games’ Torch, as Chief of Education Ade Karyana (right) looked on.   

Student teams presented their showcases in English to MR CE Hassan and CSEMs’ Managing Director Hans Polar on the various aspects of South Sumatran life including food, fashion and history.

MR CE Hassan reiterated to more than 300 students and teachers on the importance of being confident on and comfortable with the usage of English. 

One of the teams  put up a sketch, fully scripted in English, to share the history of the Sri Wijayan empire

Another team showcased the South Sumatran culture through a dance with accompanying narration in English

MR CE Hassan chatting with and congratulating a 9-year-old student participant after her team’s performance.

Teacher-in-charge of the winning team receiving the Best Presentation Award from MR CE Hassan, witnessed by the Provincial Director of High School Education, Widodo.

Finale – More than 200 students and teachers took the stage to close the event with the popular English song – ‘I’d like to Teach the World to Sing’.

Students and teachers from the winning team which presented the history of the Sri Wijayan empire

About Mercy Relief

Mercy Relief is a Singaporean humanitarian organisation which engages in both disaster relief and sustainable development programmes. It was established in 2003 as an independent non-governmental humanitarian charity responding to the human tragedies in Asia. Mercy Relief’s aid programme focuses on providing timely and effective assistance to disaster-stricken communities and has maintained the delivery of emergency aid within 72 hours from the point of appeal for assistance.  

In the past 12 years, Mercy Relief has disbursed over S$32 million in aid across 40 disaster relief and 53 sustainable development initiatives. Mercy Relief has impacted an aggregate of 2 million lives in 24 countries and areas, namely Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, DPR Korea, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Japan, Laos, Lebanon, Malaysia, the Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal,  Pakistan, Palestine, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam and Yemen.

For more information, you may call us at 6514 6322 or email corporateaffairs@mercyrelief.org