SINGAPORE - Retail associate Kelvin Tan, 22, got his first taste of volunteering overseas when he refurbished a primary school classroom in Vietnam in 2010.
The experience left him with a deep sense of gratitude for the educational facilities he once enjoyed in Singapore and a hunger to do more. "Building classrooms was good, but I wasn't satisfied and knew I could contribute in more significant ways," he said.
The next year, when he headed to Nepal, he not only constructed a classroom but also conducted science lessons and started a rainwater collection system for villagers to recycle water.
Last year, he returned to Nepal to improve the rainwater collection system.
He had found a way to filter and disinfect the collected rainwater so that the villagers could drink it instead of just use it to clean toilets.
He said: "It taught me the value of having longer-term community projects that are sustainable for the locals to continue instead of ad-hoc, touch-and-go ones."
For this reason, he is glad he has been nominated for the new Youth Corps Singapore (YCS), which will give young people the opportunity to volunteer for a longer period and with greater impact.
Mr Tan intends to take no-pay leave to join the programme. He said: "I am excited, simply because I have seen myself grow through these experiences and I want to pass it on."
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