Students' Take: A new community project gets off the ground

Project Asada’s new partnership with a Thai orphanage focuses on providing health education and screening for children

By Tao Xinyu, Class of 2023

On 13 July, Project Asada embarked on its first official OCIP trip to Thailand. It is hard to believe that it is now time to plan for our second trip. We have come a long way since our recent establishment – new partnerships were built and significant milestones were achieved.

The area of operations for Project Asada is Lamae, Chumphon in Thailand. We collaborate with our main partner, Baan Eurphon Orphanage and external stakeholders to improve local healthcare conditions. Our efforts are mainly directed towards providing health education for the children and screening them for potential health concerns such as their development and vision. In addition, we conducted an adult health screening for villagers residing around the orphanage.

Sustainability has always been at the root of our agenda. Aside from health screenings, Project Asada aims to emphasise the importance of healthcare within the local community. Drawing upon data collated from our recce, we focused on educating the children about a healthy diet and hand-and-oral hygiene. Furthermore, we created health booklets for these children to track their development, and set up a referral system with the local Lamae Hospital. We hope that this referral system will bridge the gap between the children and the local healthcare system, and allow the local healthcare professionals to follow-up on potential health problems that we identified.

Project Asada members conducting the toothbrushing module of child health education

To refine our health screening, we sought the advice of various healthcare professionals. These include Dr Sylvia Choo from KK Women's and Children's Hospital and Dr Adrian Koh from Eye & Retina Surgeons. From Dr Choo, we received training on administration of the Denver Development Test to assess children for developmental delays. We were guided on how to make adjustments to the test to cater more to the children in Lamae. From Dr Koh, we were supported with resources and information pertaining to visual acuity. We are very thankful for their generosity and willingness to teach us.

This trip has been a memorable one for us. The innocence and enthusiasm of the children remain fresh in my mind, reminding me of why we continue working to improve our project. I am incredibly honoured to work alongside teammates whose dedication made all that we accomplished possible. It is with hope and determination that we reflect on this trip to better our strengths and address our shortcomings, to bring the project to even greater heights in the years to come.