LAST week, 55 people participated in an international volunteer expedition to CapitaLand Daping Hope School in Guangdong province in China.
Meihua Town, in a rural mountainous region north-west of Lechang city, has a population of 56,000, most of whom are Hakka.
The school was previously known as Daping Primary School and has about 400 pupils aged between three and 13.
In 2012, CapitaLand Hope Foundation donated 400,000 yuan (about S$85,000) to the school to build its student dormitory and canteen.
Prior to the donation, 124 stay-in pupils slept in the classrooms as they lived far away, with the furthest requiring a walk of up to three hours to get to school.
There was also no canteen, so while those who lived nearby would return home for their meals, pupils who stayed in school would often eat preserved vegetables that would last them the week until they went home during the weekends.
The canteen was built in the hope that the pupils could be provided with nutritious meals.
Participants of the expedition consisted mainly of CapitaLand staff volunteers from China, Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam. There were eight non-staff volunteers.
The visit to the school lasted three days, during which the volunteers conducted music and art lessons, painted wall murals and organised a sports day for the pupils.
The ST trip was made possible by CapitaLand.
This article was first published on December 13, 2014.
Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.