• DHS Nursing student Petricie Lee giving medical check-up in Cambodia during ASEAN Young Professionals Volunteer Corps
DHS Nursing student Petricie Lee giving medical check-up in Cambodia during ASEAN Young Professionals Volunteer Corps

The ASEAN Young Professionals Volunteer Corps (AYPVC) is run under the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports, Brunei Darussalam, and aims to expose young professionals to community development projects in the ASEAN region as well as inculcate a spirit of volunteering exchange and service.

The objectives of AYPVC are to gather young professionals to provide assistance in areas of their expertise and also to develop a sense of responsibility, obligation and duty towards the ASEAN region. In addition, volunteers have the opportunity to promote a productive exchange of skills and knowledge with the locals.

Two participants from each ASEAN country were selected to join the voluntary work, comprising

27 youths from ASEAN countries which included eight Bruneians, six of whom were from the Society of Community Outreach and Training (SCOT) as well as the Youth Development Club (YDC). The project was held for 16 days from 24 August until 8 September 2013.

I was extremely excited to have been chosen to participate in the 1st AYPVC in Cambodia as a youth representative from Brunei Darussalam and saw it as a great opportunity to get to know Cambodia as well as help people by doing community work - particularly in the rural areas - at the same time. This was personally an amazing experience for me as it was not only my first time being a part of a voluntary programme outside of my country, but it was also my first time travelling to Cambodia, the Kingdom of Wonder, a title welldeserved as the Cambodian people welcomed us with such warm and open arms.

The AYPVC in Cambodia project focused on education, agriculture and health services in two rural areas, Samrong Tong and Lvea Aem. Being a Diploma in Health Science student at the PAPRPSB Institute of Health Sciences, UBD, I had chosen to volunteer for the health services project.

Health services were included in this project due to the local people’s lack of access to medical care, particularly in rural areas. We organised health check-ups and consultations and as a result attracted a large number of people from the two rural areas: a total of 890 patients came from 79 villages for our sessions - which included consultations and education on nutrition and basic hygiene - and over 300 children were given guidance on tooth brushing and hand-washing, in addition to having their nails cut.

Brunei Darussalam’s easy access to medical care is in stark contrast to Cambodia’s situation, where the people have to fend for themselves. For example, one of our patients was an eight-year-old boy who was suffering from poliomyelitis and had not gone to a hospital for treatment due to both financial problems as well as the hospital being too far from his province. He also came with a friend instead of his parents as they were too busy working.

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