Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Stomp Out Dengue Carnival 2014 Touches Hearts and Minds

While the majority of students were still lying in bed on yet another seemingly ordinary Saturday morning, on 26 July 2014, 300 of their peers from various schools were already up and about, preparing for an educational carnival. These students were from Anderson Secondary, Chong Boon Secondary, Hougang Secondary, Mayflower Secondary, Da Qiao Primary and last but not least, Nanyang Polytechnic.

Banner for the day

The carnival, called Stomp Out Dengue, was held at block 540, Ang Mo Kio Avenue 10. Stomp Out Dengue is a bottom-up student initiative from NYP’s Geo Council. In addition to working with the various secondary and primary schools for the past few weekends, the students from Geo Council also collaborated with NEA and the Ang Mo Kio Town Council for this event. The aim of the event was to educate residents on what they must do to Stomp Out Dengue!

As part of our assignment, we tagged along with one of the student groups conducting a survey around the HDB blocks. Our student volunteers had been surveying residents over the past two weekends. Their job was to conduct door to door surveys to educate residents on dengue prevention. Our group comprised three NYP students and two students from Da Qiao Primary School. The primary school students, who were only about 11, displayed great  courage to talk with strangers! In fact, what was quite surprising was that most of the talking was done by the primary school students.

For their tender age, they were very brave to approach complete strangers, and help them to fill up answers on the survey form. But of course, not all was smooth sailing. On that Saturday morning, there were numerous doors that remained shut despite multiple knocks. Only 19 out of 53 units responded but our students diligently left flyers at the doorstep of the rest to educate the residents on dengue breeding and prevention.

Also, not all residents were warm and friendly as we had hoped but most were patient and understanding with our students, and two home owners even posed for a photo or two. It was heart-warming to see our residents showing kindness and sacrificing their valuable time to listen to our students and partake in the survey.

Meanwhile, at 10am, the various participating school students had their booths set up and ready for the Carnival. It was also the time when residents from all walks of life started streaming into the void deck. Balloons, ping pong balls and mosquitos, kept in glass cases, greeted the residents.

Mosquitoes on exhibition

The students did not just participate in this meaningful event as part of their CCA, but because they also wanted to do something for the community. Indeed, some students were very enthusiastic and could not stop sharing ways to curb the spread of dengue fever through their booths. Our volunteers were also able to unleash their creativity when setting up their booths, and the games and prizes looked aesthetically pleasing.

Resident at the ‘Toss Out Mozzies’ booth

Insect repellent prize by Mayflower Secondary

Anderson Secondary Students and their booth

 Said Ms Pang, a teacher from Chong Boon Secondary School: “The students learnt about teamwork as it was their first time working with one another.”

All teachers who were present agreed that the event was about giving back to the community.

To continue keeping the residents entertained, there was an interesting line up of performances by our very own NYP students. They included performances by the Guitar Club, SoundCard, StageArts, and a vibrant dance display by La Ballroom En Masse.

 Performance by StageArts

 Dance by the La Ballroom En Masse

Later that morning, we were graced by the presence of special guest, Mr Yeo Guat Kwang who is a Grassroots advisor to Ang Mo Kio GRC, MP for Ang Mo Kio GRC and vice-chairman for the Ang Mo Kio Town Council. Mr Yeo said he was very impressed by the student’s efforts and the carnival was a good way to reach out to the community. He added that all the booths were interesting, with each having its own niche, such as the booth by Anderson Secondary, which had a model of an Aedes mosquito as part of its display.

Mr Yeo taking a picture of the mosquito model

The Guest-Of-Honour, Dr Intan Azura Mokhtar, also a Grassroots advisor to Ang Mo Kio GROs and MP for Ang Mo Kio GRC, arrived later that day. Like Mr Yeo, she too was impressed by the efforts of the students and she supported the initiative.

“I enjoyed all the booths very much and it was really an interesting way to educate the residents,” she said. “I hope that this event serves as an eye-opener for the residents and they will learn to guard themselves well against dengue.”
 Dr Intan getting ready to play a throwing game

After making her rounds of the booths, Dr Intan proceeded to the area which hosted another highlight of the day - a mural done by our very own NYP students. With a smile on her face, she proceeded to paint part of the mural before heading back to be presented with a token of appreciation.

Mural by NYP students

All in all, the event was a memorable experience for both participants and residents. We look forward to seeing more of such student-initiatives. Once again, a big thank you to everyone who made this event possible.
 Student helpers for the day

By Amabel Yeo, Diploma in Information Technology, and Calvin Loh, Diploma in Molecular Biotechnology

Unlike most girls, Amabel prefers spending her time on the computer than to go shopping. During her free time, she can be seen playing different mobile games or reading their reviews.

Mathematics and Science has always fascinated Calvin. Now, at 17, he is trying to understand  numerous concepts in these fields of study, while indulging in English Literature as a hobby.

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