A group of secondary 3 students from Mayflower Secondary School made Mercy Relief record books by becoming the youngest ever group of volunteers to participate in MR’s Mercy Overseas Volunteer Expeditions (MOVE) programme.

Established in 2010, MOVE exercises the global spirit of active citizenry, allowing volunteers to lend a helping hand to disadvantaged communities at MR’s development project locations overseas.

Held from 30 May to 3 June in the area of Baseco, a resettlement site in Manila, Philippines, the aim of the expedition was to give the secondary school participants the opportunity to build on previous MOVE team’s work on communal urban backyard gardening, gain exposure on local livelihoods, and acquire a sense of gratitude for Singapore.

Despite their young age, the group of 18 students worked together with MR’s community partner Kabalikat Sa Pagpapaunlad Ng Baseco to harvest organic fertilizers, paint fences and containers, and plant mangroves.

For some of the students, it was their first time holding a hammer and engaging in manual labour.

“It was a tough yet memorable experience. This is a good way to learn about other people’s lives. Also, I learned to be thankful and understand how lucky we are,” said one of the students who participated in the expedition.

A total of 60 MOVE trips have been organized thus far, in China, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, the Philippines and Vietnam.

The expeditions are tied to MR’s existing development projects in the country so the job scope for every trip varies. Whilst this recent expedition with Mayflower Secondary School students focused on urban gardening activities, a MOVE trip in May saw Singapore Polytechnic students installing drip irrigation facilities and conducting evacuation drills for the local community.

Though majority of participants have been groups from tertiaries, MR has recently decided to expand MOVE’s target market by also focusing on corporates and members of the public.

“We are starting to engage corporates as it gives them the opportunity to exercise their commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Members of the public are also encouraged to participate as this is an ideal platform for them to give back,” said Khairul Massuan, MR’s Assistant Director for International Programmes.

Depending on the duration and location of the MOVE trip, the average cost per participant is $1,000 – $1,500.

More information on MOVE can be found here.

The students watch attentively as they learn how to make plant containers out of bamboo and wood.

Some of the students contributed to the construction of new fences for the mangrove plantations.

Learning how to harvest organic fertilizers, which is essential in the planting of vegetables for consumption within the community.

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