Students' Take: The drive for sustainability continues in Batam

Project Daya continues to work on making its efforts sustainable in Batam with quarterly visits and empowerment of the locals.

By Wai Jia Yan, Class of 2023

Project Daya (Overseas Community Involvement Project Batam) aims to develop a self-sustainable programme to empower the villagers of Batam to lead healthy lifestyles. We currently serve two villages in Batam — Baloi Kolam and Kampung Air. 

On this trip in July - the fourth and last for AY 2018/19 – we conducted door-to-door outreach in both villages, educating residents on chronic illnesses and other health topics relevant to each individual villager. While we saw many new faces, it was heartwarming to catch up with those whom we met on our previous trips. We also held a children’s programme in Baloi Kolam to teach them about basic healthy habits. In addition, we organised a health fair in Kampung Air to reach out to a wider audience. During the event, we ran a mass education on chronic illnesses and hosted booths on maternal and children’s health, as well as quitting smoking. 

We were also fortunate to meet with Carree Stewart, an expert on public health, who is currently based in Batam. During our meeting, Carree shared about her experience, gave us a short crash course on Focused Group Discussions and shared insightful advice on how our project may move forward.

This trip was particularly thought-provoking as we spent a lot of time reflecting on the factors that impact sustainability. Our idea of sustainability involves empowering locals – villagers and health authorities – to be advocates for health and to promote health to other villagers, even in our absence. While we continue to do our best to educate and work together with the villagers, we constantly evaluate how our actions affect them and most importantly, if we do more harm than good. This helps ensure our presence and actions are not detrimental to the villages or redundant, and will instead strengthen the community. As part of our future initiatives, we hope to further engage with local champions within the villages and strengthen our connections with local stakeholders.

We have successfully raised over $500 from the sale of our specially designed lanyards and we would like to use this opportunity to thank our fellow schoolmates and the School for their unwavering support. As we gather new Year 1s to participate on this OCIP in the coming year, we hope to gain fresh perspectives and ideas, and guide them through this journey.