On 24 August 2013, 26 young professionals from all ten ASEAN countries landed in Palembang, South Sumatra, for the inaugural AYPVC regional joint community service there.

The participants were divided into two groups –SPENT (Special Needs Training) and SPLASH (School Promoting & Learning About Safety and Hygiene) to serve rural and vulnerable groups including children with special needs. The 16-day service expedition took place in the Ogan Komering Ilir district and the South Sumatran capital Palembang.

Governor of South Sumatra, H.E. Alex Noerdin, receiving the 26-member AYPVC team in Palembang. 10 local youth volunteers provided ground support throughout the 16-day expedition.


The AYPVC programme seeks to bring together young professionals from ASEAN to develop a sense of obligation towards socio-cultural and economic development through regional voluntary community work in areas of their expertise.  

19-year old Thuy Duong Tran Thi from Vietnam said “The programme provides a chance to get young adults with varying experiences and backgrounds together to discuss and understand the ASEAN environment. Instead of just writing on paper, we get to put our words and discussions into effective actions for the less developed community.”

AYPVC was officially endorsed at the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Youth (AMMY) in May 2013. As the current ASEAN chair, Brunei Darussalam is pioneering the 3-year Programme, and administered by its Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports (BMCYS).

Singapore’s regional humanitarian relief & development NGO, Mercy Relief (MR), is appointed as the implementing partner, while Singapore’s National Youth Council (NYC) is a supporting partner to the Programme.

Children were trained by AYPVC members to be alert, disciplined and calm during tremors through earthquake safety workshop and evacuation drill.


With new source of clean water, children were taught good personal hygiene practices to keep clean and healthy.


(left) A human-size kampong house was built and set alight to simulate a real fire menace.

(right) A local teacher, trained by an AYPVC fire-fighting specialist, putting out the fire with confidence. Fire extinguisher points were set up around the school.


(left) Children leaving their classrooms in urgent yet orderly manner.

(right) Children trained in emergency first aid attending to their ‘injured’ peers.

Taing Samrach, a 23-year old personnel from Union of Youth Federations of Cambodia, commented “Coming from a developing country such as Cambodia, there are many existing problems with lacking solutions, particularly in the rural areas. The AYPVC programme has helped to increase my personal capacity in critical thinking skills and teamwork, bringing me one step closer to my goal in helping to contribute towards a more sustainable development for my country.

Concurrently, another group of 27 young professionals were in Kampong Speu, Cambodia from 24 Aug –8 Sep to provide mobile medical services, agricultural training and English lessons.

The next AYPVC service expedition will be taking place at the slum community of Baseco in Manila from 22 Sep –6 Oct 2013.

A token of appreciation was presented to Drs Widodo, Head of Education of South Sumatra Province.

* SPENT: Depending on its severity, developmental disability can be a life-long condition that affects the individual’s capacity for independent daily living. Despite the availability of schools for children with special needs in South Sumatra, therapeutic and support services for these children and their caregivers are very limited.

* SPLASH: Indonesia stands vulnerable to earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis and forest fires. For a country battered by a myriad of natural disasters, disaster-risk mitigation and preparedness are essential not only in helping local communities cope with the impact of natural disasters but can also help expedite the recovery of communities back to normalcy. Through a hazard mapping exercise, the AYPVC members discovered that the lack of access to clean water compromised the children’s personal hygiene and wellness.

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

Share this article!