Across Singapore’s shores, ethnic minority communities living in rural areas are often the most vulnerable as language can be a barrier to receiving medical care, and the sheer distance to hospitals can be prohibitive to the rural poor.
PHETCHABUN, THAILAND – A group of 16 Singaporean medical students studying in the Ireland & United Kingdom embarked on a 8,000 mile journey to serve the underprivileged in our region.
Project Phetchabun is a youth-led initiative to bring medical students & professionals together to provide aid to under-served communities in Thailand since 2014.
Working alongside RADION International – a Singaporean relief & development organisation, the project has provided lifesaving aid to thousands of patients, and brought healthcare education to countless more villagers and youth.
A Different Difference
“What sets Project Phetchabun apart from other Youth Expedition Projects (YEP) is our commitment to building long-term friendships, and in making a sustainable difference in the communities we serve.” explained Dr Lydia Tan, a graduate from Trinity College Dublin.
Of the partnership, Mr Eugene Wee, Founder & Executive Director of RADION International commented: “Rural communities often do not get ready access to health education and medical care. This has a cascading effect, leading to poor health and ultimately, lower quality of life and income. With teams like Project Phetchabun, we are able to develop long term healthcare plans and safety nets to ensure that communities become healthier and safer.”
Showing The Singaporean Heart
The 10-day effort saw the joint-team conduct health education talks, medical screening for school going children, mobile clinics for the elderly, and house visits to bedridden patients.
“We have seen medical teams, but this time we feel especially valued and cared for. If it was not for the detailed care given today, one of our villagers would have died. Thank you for going the extra distance.”Mr Weeraphon Promaain, the village headman of Takham village.
“The experience is humbling, and my greatest takeaway is that a listening ear and being there for the villagers can easily triumph over any other professional aid you may provide.” said Ms Yang Yuxiu, 21, 3rd Year Medical Student from University College Cork.
The Singapore Brand
“12 years ago, most villagers in this area would not have heard about Singapore, but today the name “Singapore” is synonymous with quality healthcare and people who really care.” added Mr Eugene Wee.
While Project Phetchabun has had constant support from the Youth Expedition Project, many of these students still had to save up for months, and sacrifice precious family time just to bring much needed medical relief to these under-served communities.
“Committing for this trip sometimes means that we can’t spend as much time with our families, but seeing the villagers, extending that helping hand reminds me of the sacrifices my dad made for me.” said Ms Tanya Rajwanshi, the team leader for Project Phetchabun 2019.
Ms Tanya added “when you see the villagers flooding in – when you see the immense needs, but yet manage to see them smile. You know you have played a small role in bettering someone’s life. And that makes all the effort worth it.”
See what has been done:
ABOUT PROJECT PHETCHABUN
Project Phetchabun is an annual medical expedition to Thailand organised by a group of medical students from different universities across the UK, Ireland and Singapore, in collaboration with RADION International and HealthEx International. The goal of Project Phetchabun is to help address social issues and reduce social vulnerability through education and healthcare.
ABOUT RADION INTERNATIONAL
RADION International is a Christian relief and development agency founded in Singapore. RADION International helps communities living in the fringes of society, vulnerable and that are under-served. Its has offices in Singapore, Thailand and Laos. It is also an award winning organisation in Special Consultative Status with the United Nations Economic & Social Council
To learn about the other trips we have organised, and ways you may participate, please click here.