In 2014, the Province Leaders of Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Singapore-Malaysia mooted the idea of conducting a programme that would bring together Good Shepherd Sisters and lay mission partners from various countries in Asia to learn English and communication skills in an international community. By early 2015, a programme was conceptualised and invitations were sent to 6 Asian countries. A total of 16 participants signed up for the 5-week programme from 20 June to 25 July 2015.
A team of dedicated volunteers designed a progamme that drew on scripture, Good Shepherd publications and resources, and current affairs for contexts in which to learn English grammar and vocabulary, have conversations and practise communication skills in English. An experiential and interactive approach ensured that learning continued well beyond the classroom.
Each of the 5 weeks was based on a theme, which included the Good Shepherd Mission in Singapore-Malaysia, Good Shepherd Mission in Asia-Pacific and Good Shepherd Mission in the World.
The objectives were for the participants to:
- Achieve a higher proficiency in the English language
- Grow in capacity for the life and sustainability of the Good Shepherd Mission
- Grow in confidence to participate in discussions and dialogues with a wider community
- Experience Good Shepherd Mission partnership
Lessons and activities
About 40 lessons, each 2 hours long, were held about 4 days a week. Visits were made to Marymount Centre, Good Shepherd Centre, Ahuva Good Shepherd, Good Shepherd Student Care, Good Shepherd Convent Kindergarten, Marymount Kindergarten and Marymount Convent School. The participants also visited DAWN, joined in the Peace Prayer walk and went on excursions to places of interest, like the Botanic Gardens, the Museums, Gardends by the Bay.
The participants had opportunities to:
- participate and lead in daily prayer
- participate in dialogue sessions on Congregational matters
- share the culture and ministries of their own Provinces
- give input on social issues e.g. migration, human trafficking, poverty
- participate in Singapore’s mission activities
- learn and interact with Good Shepherd mission partners
- learn and practise leadership skills
- widen their world view
- network beyond borders.
Course Performance Task
At the end of he programme, each participant gave an oral presentation on a project with a view of persuading the audience to donate to her cause or volunteer support for her cause.
16 presentations delivered confidently in clear English informed the audience of Good Shepherd ministries and crisis shelters in 6 Asian countries. The audience heard first-hand accounts of hardship, strife and risks that are the lot of the poor in those countries, and how the participants share with them the love of the Good Shepherd. Many presentations moved the audience to tears.
While it was clear that the programme objectives were met, it is significant to note that the success of the programme was due not just to the enthusiasm and hard work of the participants and also to the collective effort of all benefactors, caregivers, coordinators, teachers and volunteers. It was truly a community of love that was united in the mission of making each participant feel loved and accepted, and helping each participant according to her needs.
This programme is the first cross-border endeavour to network, carry out formation and foster partnership through the learning of English.