Besides strong economic ties between Cambodia and Singapore, many Singaporeans living in Cambodia also provide humanitarian assistance to the Kingdom.
St. John Brigade Singapore (SJBS), for example, has led volunteer missions in Phnom Penh, Kampong Thom and Kampong Speu province.
Having lived in Cambodia for many years, Andrew Tay, managing director of Himawari Hotel Apartments and president of SJBS Zone 2, understands the importance of reaching out to Cambodians in need.
“St. John aims to improve the health and well-being of people around the world, our mission in Cambodia is the same,” he said.
Tay said that since SJBS first started its project in Cambodia in 2006, the organization has successfully built 20 wells, two of which were fitted with pumps, conducted health screenings and donated medical supplies to thousands of Cambodians.
In addition, they conducted the first-aid, hygiene classes and vocational training for rural villagers.
“On other completed missions [SJBS] has donated daily necessities, such as rice, scarves, fish sauce, instant noodles, basic medical supplies and mosquito nets, all packed to more than 1,500 families,” Tay said.
On August 9, Singapore’s National Day, SJBS will inaugurate the creation the St. John Brigade Phnom Penh Corps.
“After several missions, with the support of the Saint John’s Priory of Singapore and Saint John International, and with our work being recognised by the Royal Embassy of Cambodia in Singapore, our organisation has decided to take a leap forward by registering our organisation as an NGO in Cambodia,” he said.
Once the NGO gains government approval, Tay said that it already has 25 trained volunteers ready to begin activities in Phnom Penh and Kampong Thom province.
“Once formed, they will continue their training in higher first-aid, [complete their] leadership course and begin providing humanitarian and public services,” he said. “All the while, SJBS will provide administrative funding to the Corps.”
SJBS, whom took the lead for Singapore’s mission into Cambodia, has previously worked alongside the Cambodian Red Cross, Side by Side International, Project Khmer HOPE and Family Care Cornerstone Project. Currently SJBS are in talks to work alongside with Samdach Techo Voluntary Youth Doctor Association (T.Y.D.A.) founded by His Excellency Hun Manet and Louk Chumteav Pich Chanmony.
In terms of education, SJBS has donated first-aid books and other school materials to over 500 students, as well as renovating and repairing classrooms at the Po Banteay Chey Primary School in Siem Reap, Tay added.
In total, SJBS has 5,000 volunteers in Singapore, of which SJBS Zone 2 have 400 members, Tay explained.
St. John Singapore was originally founded in 1885 by Her Excellency (Mrs.) Bonser, Acting Governor and Chairperson of the Saint John Ambulance Association Centre in Singapore.