1|P a g e Raffles Institution Year 2 Research EducationDesign for Change School Challenge 2011 Care for Your Animals By Animal Protectors Team Leader : Kennedy Oung (2I) Team Members : Gerry Zhang (2I) Samuel Lim (2I) Teacher-Mentor: Mr. Jai Singh
2|P a g eAcknowledgements We would like to thank the following people and organizations that havesupported us for the course of this project in one way or another. Mr Jai Singh, whose has provided us invaluable guidance, without which we could not have accomplished this project. Ms. Selina Sebastian, as well as all other SPCA staff, who have given us much help one way or another. Mdm. Katherine Lee principal of Twinkle Childcare for letting us present to her children Mdm. Lena Koh, principal of MindChamps Preschool for letting us present to her students Mrs. Lim Yoke Tong, who has given us a golden opportunity to present to our fellow Rafflesians, and also to tell them more about stopping animal abuse.
4|P a g eDesign For Change ReportChapter 1 We decided to take part in design for change because we haveobserved that there are more and more stray cats and dogs loitering in ourneighbourhood and this compelled us to want to do something to stop thisphenomenon from aggravating. Thus, this project was the perfect projects forus to actually do something to help. We decided to set our objectives in thisproject to reduce the amount of pets being abandoned by irresponsible petowners, thus reducing the amount of stray cats and dogs in our community.Thus, we did our project in collaboration with the SPCA (Society for thePrevention of Cruelty to Animals), who helped a lot in our project. We setabout achieving this goal by going around raising awareness to the public,children and youths.We did this by visited several childcare centres, and also made use of aDesign For Change Week program in our own school to raise awarenessabout this issue to youths of our age.
5|P a g eChapter 2 We did quite a lot of research on the issue at hand after being urged byour teacher mentor and the SPCA to find out more about this topic. The SPCAalso provided us with the statistics they had for us to read up on. Someexamples of these include the amount of pets discarded by owners inSingapore every year, capacity of animals the SPCA can hold and amount ofanimals put to sleep every year in Singapore. The problems of the increase inthe amount of stray do not just affect the animals, but they affect residents inthat area as well. According the Mrs Selina Sebastian of the SPCA, theincrease in the amount of strays can lead to an increased amount of animaldroppings, which may cause some inconvenience to the residence as theymight accidentally step into one of these faeces piles. Thus, it can be seenthat the problem is pretty severe. It has actually made the news as theminister of health personally ordered the sterilization of a lot of stray cats. Thisis to prevent them from reproducing further, causing the problem to becomeworse. Thus, it can be seen that one way to approach the problem of theincreasing amount of strays is to sterilize the strays such that they cannotreproduce. However, there is another way, which can solve the problem fromits roots. The solution that can do that is to educate the public about how to beresponsible pet owners, thus preventing them from discarding their pets.When no one discards their pets anymore, there will be no more strays.Furthermore, we can educate the young children about this issue so thatwhen they grow up, none of them will discard their pets if they decide to getone. We arrived at this solution after speaking to Mrs. Selina Sebastian of theSPCA, and the SPCA has such a program that does exactly that. Thus, wedid our project as a service learning project. We were also very fortunate thatall our resources that we required were not lacking, and were easily attainable.For example, we were fortunate that some of Kennedy’s relatives ownedchildcare centres, thus allowing us to get appointments easily.
6|P a g eChapter 3 The action plan of our project is to educate the young children of oursociety, youths of ages similar to us teenagers, and the general public. Toaccomplish this, we decided to make arrangements to visit various childcarecentres to put forth to the children information on animal abuse, and thecorrect methods to properly handle animals as pets. Also, we had to prepareposters and information cards containing information concerning pet abuse, toutilize in our showcasing to our schoolmates, such that they are better able tounderstand the information we are trying to convey. We thus decided to separate the work amongst ourselves, some of usgetting the posters and information cards/brochures from SPCA, while theothers start on the script to present to the children in the childcare centres.This enabled us to be able to complete the presentation preparation quicklyand efficiently. Also, to get the children’s attention, we decided to get somesmall souvenirs such as cards containing information about abandoned petsand the SPCA contact information to give to the children at the childcarecentres if they answer our question correctly after the presentation, alsoenabling us to check if the children learnt anything from the presentation. Bydoing so, we are taking a risk on whether the children would listen to thepresentation just to obtain the card, and forget it all later. But we believe thatthe children with the cards, which contains contact information of SPCA,would show the cards to their parents, and that their parents might even getthe information we shared to the children, thus it can be seen that the risk isworth taking as the positive outweighs the negative effects. This project also involves many people. Firstly, it involves the help ofMrs Selina Sebastian, who not only provided us the materials we needed forthe presentation to the child cares we are going, such as the posters andPowerPoint slides, but also, in supporting us in accomplishing this project.Also, our teacher-mentor Mr Jai Singh gives us constructive and helpfulguidance and feedback such that we are able to better our project and perfectit. Finally, we also met up with Mrs Selina Sebastian on the other wayswe can use to bring forth the information to the children, leading us to decide
7|P a g eon utilizing posters pasted on large sheets of vanguard. Then, she agreed toprovide us with the necessary posters and cards to present to people.The poster board that we created A picture of Ms. Selina Sebastian posing with a dog
10 | P a g e Days 1 to 3 were spent presenting to the Rafflesians in Raffles Institution. Itwas held in the main Atrium, located in the Yusof Ishak Block. On the otherhand, Days 4, 5, 6, and 7 were spent presenting in childcares. Day 4 waspresented in Twinkle Childcare, while Days 5 to 7 werepresented in the Tampines branch of MindChampsPreschool.Day 1 (19th July 2011Tuseday) - Raffles InstitutionPresent: Gerry Zhang, Kennedy Oung On Day 1, there were practically no participants inour presentations. This was probably due to busy schedules, whichconsequently led to the interested participants being unable to stay back andlisten to our presentations. However, we were upbeat about it, and felt that wewould get more participants on the next 2 days. We also created aquestionnaire with the rest of the school mates taking part in this Design forChange project, to test the level of understanding in our participants.Day 2 (20th July 2011, Wednesday) - Raffles InstitutionPresent: Gerry Zhang, Samuel Lim, Kennedy Oung On Day 2, an overwhelmingly high number of participants had come toview our presentations. We were delighted that so many people wereinterested, and it was far beyond our expectations. We gave out thequestionnaires, and even gave a tube of Polo candy to those who couldanswer at least 8 of them correctly, as an added bonus. We felt that thereason for the increased participation was that Wednesday was a day wheremajority of the students had to stay back for CCA (co-curricular activities), andwould be able to visit our booths. Furthermore, after seeing the crowd, as wellas the incentive of a tube Polo candy, those that may not have beeninterested might have had their interests sparked.
11 | P a g eStudents reading from posters A high number of students on A student filling up the Day 2 questionnaire while he looks for the answers Day 3 (21st July 2011, Thursday)- Raffles Institution Present: Samuel Lim, Kennedy Oung On Day 3, the participants was lower than that of Day 2, but still much better than that of Day 1. However, as we observed an increased number of teachers passing by, we decided to try and convince teachers to participate in our questionnaire challenge too. Thankfully, most of the teachers had the time to spare to visit our booths. Thus, the bulk of our participants on Day 3 were teachers. Gerry giving out questionnaires A picture of a completed questionnaire Day 4 (25 July 2011, Tuesday)- Twinkle Childcare Present: Gerry Zhang, Kennedy Oung
12 | P a g e Day 4 was completed at Twinkle Childcare, where we had presented tosmall group of 7 to 10 people. As Twinkle Childcare did not possess aprojector, we could only present it with the poster we had used in theExhibition Week. The children were quite rowdy, and we had a hard timetrying to control them. However, this problem was solved with us offeringincentives, to coax them to focus. The children, being of a younger age, had arelatively short attention span, and could not sit still. Furthermore, the childrenhad difficulty understanding some of the vocabulary that we had used. Assuch, we could only try to use analogies, as well explaining it in simple terms,to get our message across. A minor setback was that we were struggling totry and come up with analogies and simpler explanations, which caused mildstuttering, as well as time constraints. While presenting in the childcare, wecame upon astonishing pieces of news. The children were animal abusers.Some of these children had been making a habit of kicking stray animals,especially cats, whenever they chanced upon them, and causing them harm.We were surprised, as we expected the younger generation to be lessinclined to come into contact with stray animals, much less resort to violence.This was taken into serious consideration, and we immediately told them thatkicking the animals is an act of pet abuse, and that they should not do it. Theprincipal of the childcare, Mdm. Katherine Lee, was also informed of this.Action has already been taken prior to this issue. Children receiving the small Children listening attentively information cardsDay 5,6,7( 2nd August)- MindChamps Preschool@ TampinesPresent: Samuel Lim, Kennedy Oung
13 | P a g e Days 5, 6, and 7 were all done on the same day, and as such will bedescribed together. These Days were spent at MindChamps Preschool atTampines, and our target audience this time was 3 classes of children withdifferent ages. As the preschool had a portable projector available, we coulduse our PowerPoint slides to present to the children. This time, the childrenwere more focused, and quieter as compared to the 4th Day, probablybecause of the presence of teachers, as well as having PowerPoint slidesboth filled with colourful pictures, and with simple words to entertain them.These PowerPoint slides were prepared by the SPCA, who have had moreexperience presenting to children, and is thus more ‘child- friendly’. Thepresentation had gone smoothly, with minor hitches such as children playingwith the wire, but generally quite successful. Many children reared pets athome, and loved to learn more about taking care of pets. As far as we couldtell, the children did not abuse animals, and were responsible pet owners. Itwas good news to us, as we were afraid that this group of children may be petabusers as well. MindChamps @ Tampines Kennedy presenting to the children at MindChamps PreschoolChapter 5Reflections
14 | P a g e We have managed to successfully educate the youths, as well aschildren about taking proper care of their pets, as well as about the harmfuleffects of abusing animals. Furthermore, we have managed to find potentialanimal abusers (Day 4, Twinkle Childcare), and told them about how it waswrong to do such things. Thus, we consider most of our objectives met.However, we did not manage to present to the target number of audiences—this was the only objective we did not meet. This was probably because weexpected more audiences on Days 1 and 4. We feel that this project had been a fruitful, fun, yet memorableexperience, in which we have learnt a great amount of things. From thisexperience, not only have we learnt to communicate with kids better, we havealso established a relationship with some of the staff from SPCA. These tiesmay prove to be useful and reliable in the long run. In the past, we would be unable to give our best in doing a project thatwould require much time and energy. However, through this project, we havelearnt to persevere, and that we can make a difference in the world. We feel that we are able to persevere in our project. This has enabledus to keep on going, even in the face of adversity. However, we tend to getdistracted easily, an example being us forgetting to work on the RE projectwhen we have other projects to work on. Another weakness would be our flawof procrastination. We often leave many of our tasks to be completed in theeleventh hour. This has caused much trouble for those around us, such ashaving to return the posters to the SPCA on time. One of the challenges that we have faced include us being unable tomeet up on the holidays to complete this project. This is partly because of ourhectic schedules, as well as the our habit to procrastinate, as mentionedabove. Also, it was difficult to find suitable childcare centers. These centersneeded to be able to accommodate us at a time where we are free. This isdifficult as we do not have our weekends free, and can only go there afterschool.
15 | P a g e Thus, we feel that we should work on rectify those problems listedabove. We should try to work on our outstanding tasks while we still have thetime, and organize our schedule better.Reflections (Gerry)
16 | P a g e This project has taught me a lot of things about myself, that I have thepower to make the change I want to have in the world and can showcompassion to not just humans, but likewise animals. My life is considerablemore comfortable than these stray animals that have to forage for scraps fortheir food. Thus, I need to be humble and show compassion to these pooranimals. Thus, I believe that I have learnt much from this experience ofworking with the SPCA, and I would definitely treat animals that I see better.However, I think that I may not be a very good social worker or volunteersince my school life is very hectic and this would cause me to be unable tofind much time for volunteering work. I believe, that through this project I have made a impact, however small, tothe society as I have taken a step to solve a problem that would soon becomea nuisance. After working on these project, I found that my initial thinking thatthe stray cats and dogs were not a problem to society was flawed, thusprompting me to solve this issue such that it will not trouble people in thecommunity anymore. As can be seen from the fact that it made the news, it isa huge problem indeed. In the future, I believe that I can continue to work with the SPCA to tacklethis problem and hopefully, solve it once and for all. It will have a great socialimpact since people need not worry about the animal droppings anymore.Furthermore, it has a political impact, since the minister can devote his timeon other more pressing issues. The economic impact is that SPCA will notneed to spend more money in getting more land to house these stray animals.However, these problem will not be easily solved. Although we reach out topeople to educate them to be responsible pet owners, they might not listen tous, or take our advice as a grain of salt. Thus, we have to find ways to breakthrough these mental barriers to effectively curb the problem at hand. Ifpossible, I would like the government to get professional pet handlers ortrainers to hold talks and workshops to educate the public about responsiblepet ownership. People will take professionals more seriously, and these mighthelp break through some of the mindsets I mentioned earlier. Hopefully, thesesolutions will be implemented in the near future so as to help solve theproblem.
17 | P a g e In conclusion, I have enjoyed myself thoroughly after working on thisproject. While enriching myself with new knowledge, I have also received anopportunity to work with a non-profit organization, the SPCA. Thus, I want tothank my teacher mentor, my group mates and everyone that has helped orencouraged me in one way or another.Reflections (Samuel Lim) In this past year doing this research education project, I believe I havelearnt many things about myself, and ways I can improve further. Firstly, Iknow that I can change something, i can make the change in the world I live in,and all these are possible if I am persevering enough. Perseverance, a virtueneeded in almost any situations, is one I believe I lack in, due to my knack toget distracted very easily, and thus this is an important aspect this researcheducation project has helped me understand better. Also, I feel that all of ushave the capacity to be compassionate, be it to humans or animals, and itonly depends on whether we want to or not. This I largely due to that fact thatthese abused and stray animals are living in a life a whole lot worse than ours,and that through this project, I feel the need to help these animals, give thema better life. Working with SPCA has taught me a great deal of things,including the aforementioned ones, and it is truly a wonderful experienceworking with SPCA. While I do believe that I can contribute to the society as asocial worker, the heavy workload, and stress prevents me from picking upthe habit of volunteerism, but I will still strive to help as much as I could. I feel that although I am but one person, by doing this project with mygroup mates, we are able to spread the word around, influencing more andmore people, and this small change will spark a change in the mindset of ourcurrent society that pet abuse is tolerated, and that stray animals should notbe treated as part of our society and not given helped. I also once felt thatway too about these aspects on pet abuse and stray animals, but with thisproject, it gave me a different insight into the matter, that these animalsshould actually be saved, and helped. I believe that through our presentations,we have given others the insight they need into changing their views in thesematters, and with this, it is like a chain reaction, influence one, and a group
18 | P a g ewill be influenced. I believe that I would want to work with SPCA in the future, to tackle andsolve this problem once and for all, and this would have a great impact on thelives of us humans, and animals alike. Socially, we are able to have a cleanerenvironment to live in as there are no more stray animals that may dirty ourenvironment. Also, in the political sense, our government would be able todevote their time to focus more on other aspects of our society, whileeconomically; there is less need for animal welfare companies to spend toomuch money on building places for these animals to stay in. These impactshowever can only work if animal owners and people in our society are willingto cooperate with us in solving this issue. This can be tackled by implementingfines to people who are caught abandoning their animals into the wild, andalso to invite renowned motivation speakers or people from animal welfaregroups, as these stubborn people may only learn, when being spoken to byprofessionals. Altogether, I feel that this research education project is truly a great andwonderful experience for me, and I also feel that working with SPCA, mygroup mates and my teacher-mentor has truly made the experience fun andunforgettable. i thank everyone that has helped in this project one way oranother, for making this project worthwhile and really, the best.Reflections (Kennedy Oung) After working on this SL project, I have found out that I am able to lead fairly well, considering that I have little to no experience in being a team leader. Even though I love animals, I rarely come into contact with them. Perhaps this has caused me to cherish animals more than others, who have had reared pets before, and thus do not cherish animals more than I do. After this experience, I will view animal abuse in a more serious light. I will strongly object to animal abuse, and will not let such an act go by without justice being done. I feel that my busy schedule is stopping me
19 | P a g e from picking up volunteerism. It is already difficult enough to juggle school and tuition at the same time. Adding voluntary work would be much too stressful for me to handle. However, I do feel that I will become a good social service worker. I try my best in whatever I do, and I will make sure to take part in voluntary work if I can be in time for it. I have made an effort in stopping pet abuse, as well as promoting responsible pet ownership. It may be small, but I believe that it will eventually build into something significant. In the past, I felt that responsible pet ownership just meant giving it exercise, as well as keeping it clean. However, now I have learnt that it is much more than that. It includes watching its diet, buying appropriate enclosures, items, etc. I feel that through passing on this knowledge, it has the potential to end animal abuse, as well as the abundance of stray animals. I can start volunteering at the SPCA (if I am of age), or I may seek guidance from different pet care organizations to start presenting to a larger scope of audience, and I may even reach the media. However, to do so, I will require the support from the community, as well as the opportunity to present to large groups of audiences. Should such an opportunity arise, I shall take it. This may implicate the use of animals in circuses and theme parks worldwide, as many of these animals go through inhumane training to be able to perform circus tricks. We may petition to save these animals from cruelty of the trainers, and can send it to the circuses or theme parks (such as the theme park at Marina Bay Sands) to request for them to stop using animals in their performances.BibliographyMindChamps, PreSchool. (Date unclear). MindChamps preschool centres. Retrieved fromhttp://www.mindchamps.org/preschool/centres-popup.html
20 | P a g eSelina, Sebastian. (Date unclear). Selina Sebastian, Facebook. Retrieved fromhttp://www.facebook.com/people/Selina-Sebastian/508719249