Dozens of Samsung C&T volunteers swapped summer vacation time to renovate an elementary school in Myanmar and offer new experiences to the pupils there. The team was made up of 50 members, including Samsung C&T employees and their families, as well as volunteers from local trading partner Naing Nine and Plan Korea, an international relief and development NGO.
Their mission from August 5-8 was to improve the facilities at Dala Primary School No. 13, located in a village on the southern bank of Yangon River, and hold cultural exchange events with its students.
This was Samsung C&T’s ninth overseas volunteer program. The first one was held back in 2011 in India, and programs have taken place in Myanmar for the past four years.
Different skills from diverse backgrounds
For the first time in an overseas volunteering activity, Samsung C&T’s team came from all four company groups – Engineering & Construction, Trading & Investment, Fashion, and Resort.
These diverse backgrounds allowed the volunteers to offer varied skills. They demonstrated their creative spark in making flower beds, holding a dressing-up event involving Korean traditional clothes, and even coming up with a mural featuring the Korean cartoon Larva, which is popular in Myanmar.
Other tasks were more physically demanding. For example, volunteers repaired the school’s access road. They also painted its outer and inner walls, following the local rule that elementary schools should be painted light green.
There was also a chance for the teenage children of Samsung C&T employees to make a difference, as they prepared a school noticeboard sharing information they thought might be helpful to the students. The pupils seemed fascinated by their choice of subjects – music and world maps.
“Deeply moving and very rewarding”
The whole experience certainly lived up to the program’s slogan, “Share Together! Happy Together!” This was obvious from the smiles of the children as they participated in various events and admired their school’s new look.
The volunteers benefited highly from the experience of creating a brighter environment at the school, according to the comments from some of the team members.
“I wanted to know the feeling of taking part in this kind of overseas volunteer experience,” explained Geunyoung Jeong from the Construction Group. “I truly felt it and was deeply moved. It was very rewarding.”
One of the Trading Group employee’s children, Chanwoo Im, added that he was delighted with how well the project turned out. He said, “The people here are really friendly, and the school looks good now.”
And those memories and bonds will no doubt inspire the next group of volunteers in the program’s 10th year – and hopefully for many more to come.