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23 Aug 2022
4 mins
YSMOU U-Heart Project – A Career at Sea sharing with My First Skool (MFS) Jalan Sultan Centre

On the morning of 22 July, Young SMOU (YSMOU) in collaboration with Young NTUC’s U Heart project initiative, organised a career at sea sharing for the children of My First Skool (MFS) Jalan Sultan Centre, SMOU’s adopted childcare and pre-school centre. The Union was heartened to be finally able to meet the children in-person, after 2 years of virtual event due to the pandemic.

Upon arrival at the centre, the youth volunteers were warmly welcomed by the children and the teachers. At the start, Dominic Yong, YSMOU chairman greeted the children and gave a brief introduction on what is a seafarer, before inviting youth volunteer, Cheryl Lee, a former marine engineer to share on her seafaring experience.

Through the photos and her personal stories, Cheryl shared the day-to-day job of a marine engineer. The children were awestruck by the huge machines and tools which Cheryl worked with, as well as the big ships that she had sailed on. To allow the children understand how a seafarer spend the days working onboard and being away from home for many months, Cheryl also shared that besides work, seafarers have leisure time where they have teambuilding games, birthday celebration and more.

Due to unforeseen circumstances, Captain Hisyam Haron from Pacific Carriers Limited who was invited to share the occupation of a deck officer, was unable to join the event. Cheryl assisted to share briefly what a deck officer does. In order to give the children a better understanding of what a deck officer and marine engineer does respectively, she summed it up with “while the engine room is the heart of the ship, the bridge is the eye of the ship”.

The question-and-answer session which followed, saw a lot of hands raised from the inquisitive children. They asked questions relating to the mechanics of driving a ship, pirates encounter, and how does seafarers connect with their loved ones when they are onboard. To round up the sharing, a quiz was also conducted to test the children’s knowledge about the maritime, where they would be rewarded with a ship-related book for correct answers.

Closing the session, YSMOU presented a set of maritime books to MFS, so that the children are exposed to the maritime, and to have a better understanding of the different type of ships, how does a ship sail and more.

A volunteer-made mug embellished with ship was received on behalf by Ms Shanthi, Principal of MFS, as a token of gratitude for allowing SMOU to have the opportunity to conduct the sharing for the children. Ms Shanthi also expressed her appreciation towards the Union for conducting the meaningful sharing with the children, “The whole session was very interesting and engaging for the children, and you could see how excited and curious the children were to acquire new knowledge through the session. Thank you SMOU for supporting and thinking of these children, we appreciate your partnership a lot.”

Before the children returned to their classes, a specially packed goodie bag consisting of the maritime-themed colouring mats, healthy snacks and daily essentials were presented to the children. Other items that were given to MFS, for the toddlers, includes clay activities for them to play and get creative with, and walking rings for the teachers to bring the toddlers for out safely for outdoor activities.

To show appreciation towards the teachers and the staffs of MFS, for their hard work and dedication to the children, a sumptuous lunch bento was specially catered for them.

“Thank you SMOU for giving me this opportunity to share my seafaring experiences and knowledge with the young children at My First Skool. Who knows? Some of them might be skilled seafarers in this niche maritime industry in the future! I am also very heartened to be part of the goodie bag distribution knowing that we are doing something nice for the children.”

Cheryl Lee, YSMOU Volunteer

The children's "Thank You" message:

Charlotte, My First Skool Student
Charlotte, My First Skool student
Cheryl, My First Skool Student
Cheryl, My First Skool student

With the easing of safe management measures in Singapore, SMOU hopes to be able to organise more in-person sessions with our beneficiary groups and spread more awareness on the maritime industry. It was a fruitful session with the children, the Union hopes through the sharing, it aspires the young ones to be curious and interested in the maritime industry. SMOU looks forward to having more outreaches with MFS again.