Meet a Need: Removing Obstacles to Knowledge
Friday, October 28, 2016
A team of 14 volunteers across Jebsen & Jessen (SEA) (JJSEA) marked the 10th anniversary of the Group’s flagship Meet a Need programme with a trip to Myanmar that started on July 11, 2016. During the one-week trip, they worked alongside the local community to lay the groundwork for a preschool for 300 children. The trip was organised in partnership with World Vision International (WVI), which is a charity partner that the Group works with for its Meet a Social Need CSR programme. WVI manages a long-term project in Mya Yar Yoe – a village in Thanlyin Township.
Pre-primary education helps children make a smooth transition from home to formal schooling. More importantly, children’s play in pre-school provides an enriched environment for interactions that encourage cognitive or intellectual, social-emotional and physical development in growing children.
In The Field
After a 1.5-hour road trip from Yangon, the volunteers found themselves in the rural village of Mya Yar Yoe. The construction site was newly set up – only the foundation was ready. The team quickly got to work, carrying bricks, sand and stones, and flooring the foundation. The spirit of teamwork was strong as the single greatest motivation was the cause itself - to provide a safe and proper place for children to learn. Watching the JJSEA volunteers at work, a member of the community said: “You guys surprise me” because the team finished their assigned tasks faster than expected.
JJSEA Chairman Heinrich Jessen and volunteers from JJ-Pun including Philipp Hoffmann, former Managing Director, Alex Spitzy, Managing Director and Julian Stefan, Business Development and Marketing Manager worked alongside the team throughout day four.
As part of the trip, the volunteers visited three schools in the village and donated gifts to the school children they met. The children’s enthusiasm to learn simple English songs and play games, and the villagers’ efforts in participating in the construction work were truly telling of their positive attitudes and industriousness in the face of paucity. The team also presented cultural performances much to the delight of the children to conclude the experience and, on day six, reluctantly packed their bags and headed home.
The success of this pre-school building project comes from not only the dedication of the volunteers, charity partners and community members but also the power of cross-border collaboration. Some construction material used in this project was supplied from the Group’s business units, such as bricks from JJ-Pun Tiostone and cables from JJ-Lapp in Myanmar. By working together to realize a common goal, JJSEA is confident of contributing further to community development in the coming years.
- By Thipwadee RATTANAANANTACHOTE , Thailand