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Harvesting Lessons In Myanmar

IBDP CAS Trip To Myanmar

By Yasmeen Marie Lutfie
Track and Field, IBDP Year 5

Singapore Sports School’s IBDP Year 5 student-athletes rounded 2019 up with a CAS trip to Myanmar. The Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS) is a component in our International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) which enables us to develop interpersonal and personal skills through experiential learning outside of the classroom.

During the seven-day trip from 18 to 24 November 2019, 16 of us had the opportunity to experience a different culture in a lesser-visited country. The activities we participated in also opened our eyes to many real-world situations such as human trafficking and sustainability issues. For example, we had the opportunity to visit Eden Myanmar, a jewellery social enterprise in Yangon that aims to alleviate human trafficking, where they shared about the prevalence of the issue and related real-life stories of women who were exploited and later rescued. The organisation helps survivors recover through therapeutic activities, one of them being jewellery making. The pieces, designed and created by survivors, are sold to fund the organisation.

We also put our hands to the plow when we harvested rice at Golden Sunland in Nay Pyi Taw, co-founded by former Sports School fencing coach David Chen in 2016. He enlightened us to the challenges faced by the rice industry and the difficulties that rice farmers go through, not only in harvesting the rice but also having to manage the complexities of the supply chain before it finally reaches consumers. This cut-throat industry often results in farmers earning much less than the actual value of their product. Learning about the struggles of farmers and the industry taught us to better appreciate the food on our plate.

On the topic of rice, we had the opportunity to visit the Biopark in Myanmar’s capital where they showed us the process of making paper using rice husk which would otherwise have been burnt, leading to a waste of resources. A fun art and craft session where the paper product to make our cards, folders and envelopes revealed to us how simple practising sustainability can be, through making use of everyday materials.

Having benefited richly from Myanmar over the previous few days, we were excited to give back to the community through spreading some love and care to children in an orphanage in Nay Pyi Taw. We introduced them to games like chapteh and played other ball games with them, as well as taught them origami folding. Even despite the language barrier, they listened to us attentively to the instructions we gave. Seeing how enthusiastic and eager they were to partake in the activities we had planned was heart-warming.