Building a Learning Centre

14 staff from the Group took part in this year’s first corporate volunteering trip. Partnered with World Vision International (WVI), the mission was to help build a learning centre for a poor community near the Laos border in North Thailand. The centre will be a place to learn the farming and life skills the village people need as they take steps to move themselves out of poverty.

Working alongside the villagers

The team, including colleagues from Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, bonded quickly as they got to work on construction. Alongside villagers and WVI staff they would build two chicken rearing huts, one mushroom culture hut and one pig rearing hut over the three days on site. They would also plant rice, corn and mango trees. Through rain and shine the good humoured team carried on working side by side, making friends with the villagers despite the language barrier.

Visiting families

As well as the hard labour, the team took time to visit people in the community. On day one a trip around several small villages showed the realities of living in this remote, poor area. Food security is one of the most important issues, families struggle to make enough food to live on, let alone sell for income. 90% of villagers live below the poverty line; the average annual income is SGD440. In direct response to this issue, the learning centre will be a practical place where people can develop their farming techniques and learn how to rear various animals.

Meeting the local chlidren

Another key issue in the community is breaking the cycle of poverty through education. Our team met young children from remote villages who stayed in hostels at school so they could get their education. As well as sharing stories and gifts there was time to play games. A special meeting was held with the five sponsored children the Group support in the Bo Kleau community, through WVI’s sponsored children programme.


Touching memories, lasting impact

The physical efforts of the trip were evidenced in the huts and planted fields the team left behind. The impact on the team went deeper; conversation was full of reflections on how lucky we are and how much this community needed help. Returning home to colleagues and family everyone carried memories and stories to share that we hope inspire more volunteering and community action.

Other trips

Marshland and Animal Care Centre - Dec 2013

Volunteers experienced  a lesser-known side of Singapore to build a drainage system for its education centre and helped out at the animal care centre ► Read more

Nutrition Centre for Rural Philippine Community - July 2013

Volunteers helped build a nutrition centre, which will enable the community in rural Bohol tackle the problem of malnutrition, especially amongst children  ► Read more

Meet a Need at Mantanani Island  - Dec 2012

Volunteers helped the islanders of Manatani, Sabah to solve one problem: creating a sustanable drinking water supply ► Read more
Building a learning centre - July 2012
Partnered with World Visions, volunteers helped construct a centre for teaching farming and other life skills in Bo Kluea, Thailand ► Read more
Conserving the of Ulu Muda forests - Dec 2011
Volunteers helped conservation efforts in the Ulu Muda Forest Reserve in Kedah, Malaysia, by lending a hand to field officers from the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). ► Read more

Facilitating clean water access - July 2011

Volunteers travelled to Kirivong in Cambodia to work on the construction of school latrines and rain water tanks for two primary schools. ► Read more

Building a primary school  - Dec 2010

Volunteers travel to the remote mountainous area of Hang Lia commune, North Vietnam, to build two classrooms for a primary school. ► Read more

Saving Javan rhinos  - July 2010

Volunteers support the WWF's work in Ujung Kulong National Park, Indonesia, installing video surveillance and building observation tree houses. ► Read more


What it means to me

Meet a Need is an experience of a lifetime, changing the way staff think and feel about their community and their fellow colleagues. We asked participants to share their most memorable moments; the people they met, what they learned, how the trip changed them and what it was like to work for a greater good.  Read more