Poly students in projects to help South-east Asians

Republic Polytechnic students (from left) Hazman Azri and Pranav Gour, 18, with Ms Sin Sopheana of the Royal University of Phnom Penh, are working on a project to grow the freshwater gourami fish in padi fields.
Republic Polytechnic students (from left) Hazman Azri and Pranav Gour, 18, with Ms Sin Sopheana of the Royal University of Phnom Penh, are working on a project to grow the freshwater gourami fish in padi fields.ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM

300 students from S'pore, the region to join scheme funded by Temasek charity

Give a man a fish and it feeds him for a day. Join hands to learn how best to fish and it may feed a community longer - this is precisely what young people from Singapore and Cambodia are doing.

Republic Polytechnic students are working with university students from Cambodia on a project to grow fish in Cambodian padi fields, under a new exchange scheme announced by Temasek Holdings' philanthropic arm Temasek Foundation yesterday.

"This would supplement the Cambodian rice diet with a source of protein," said Republic Poly environmental science student Hazman Azri, 20, of the project to grow the freshwater gourami fish.

Some 300 students from Singapore and South-east Asian countries will take part in the million-dollar programme called Temasek Foundation Specialists' Community Action and Leadership Exchange. They will take on hands-on research projects to improve the lives of South-east Asians. Temasek Foundation is committed to funding the scheme as it wants to nurture future leaders who see themselves as "global citizens of the future", said its chief executive Benedict Cheong.

In the programme's inaugural run, 150 students from Republic Poly, as well as Nanyang and Singapore polytechnics, will work with 150 students from Cambodia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. Each polytechnic will host 50 Asean students from vocational and technical schools as part of a four-week exchange here.

The Asean students will work with their Singaporean peers to come up with ideas and develop technologies to benefit a particular community back home. In turn, Singapore students will be attached to an institution in South-east Asia for two weeks to implement the solutions.

Other projects include an initiative to develop bamboo-cutting machines to enhance the efficiency of the bamboo-fan making industry in Yogyakarta and a project to develop new food products using the sorghum wheat grown in Indonesian farms.

Ms Sin Sopheana, 20, of the Royal University of Phnom Penh, said she "looks forward to making new friends in Singapore".

Mr Hazman, who recently went to Cambodia on a community service trip, shared: "We think we come from a more fortunate country and we are giving to them. Actually, by living with them, we learn so much too."

kashc@sph.com.sg

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