The Lasallian InterNational Experience (LINE) is a virtual gathering of 239 students from 22 schools across LEAD. It is a 4 week formation programme which guides students to draw parallels between their lives and the life of John Baptist de La Salle. This programme was initiated by St Joseph's Institution, Singapore as part of their Global Education Programme and was developed by the Youth Coordinators, Isaac Stephen (Malaysia), Nikki Chan (Hong Kong), Neil Juntado (Philippines), Br Matthew Thawatchai FSC (Thailand) and Ed-Linddi Ong (Singapore). The program helps our young people to remain connected during this pandemic when travel is impossible. Planning began as early as May 2020.
On this whole journey, we have grown from students, to digital delegates, to partners in the Lasallian Mission. - Maria Raia A. Ocampo, DLSU-IS, Philippines
Each session was repeated 6 times each week to provide flexibility and to make it available to more participants. Each plenary session was kept at 40 participants to allow space for dialogue. The participants were divided into mixed groups breakout rooms and was facilitated by an accompanying adult. The sessions were also hosted by a member of the organising team.
Each week, a team of facilitators shares a part of La Salle’s life followed by guided questions for the participants to relate and share. Apart from sharing the development of the Founder’s life, the participants were also guided in developing their own service projects to be done within two months of the programme. The progression from dreaming to reality allowed the participants to understand the importance of planning and to begin thinking about factors often overlooked. The participants had a choice of working alone, in pairs or as a school.
Our team of translators Br Antonio Cubillas FSC (Mexico/Singapore), Br Matthew Thawatchai FSC (Thailand), Ms Nikki Chan (Hong Kong) worked tirelessly in reviewing the content for each week and assisted with translations when required.
In the first week, apart from an Opening Ceremony video which helped to open the programme with some sense of excitement and a short ice breaker session where participants got to know each other for the first time, Br Arian Lopez FSC (Philippines/Australia) and Br Richie Yap FSC (Philippines) gave an insight of who La Salle was, his hometown of Rheims and how he lived his life while the Brothers themselves shared some of the major milestones of their lives especially during their college days.
For the second week, Br Nicholas Seet FSC (Singapore) and Mr Errol Chang (Singapore) spoke about how society influences comes into play. Participants were asked to fill in their own experiences and understanding on a corresponding google sheet while the session was happening. This ended with participants dreaming about what they can do for their own society.
For the third week, Mr Eric Bryan (Malaysia) interviewed four guest Lasallians namely our Vicar General, Br Jorge Gallardo FSC (Mexico/Rome), Ms Vangie De Peralta (Philippines), Mr James Camden (Australia) and Mr Kenny Wong (Singapore) talking about the La Salle’s challenges leading up to his departure for Parmenie. The session concluded with a sharing by Mr Keane Palatino (Philippines), International Coordinator of Young Lasallians sharing on the institute and some of the projects that are happening around the world.
And for the final week, we had Br Paul Mata (Philippines/Singapore), Br Josaphat Ai (Myanmar) and Mr Jyron Raz (Philippines) beginning with a song composed by Br Josaphat followed by sharing about the last chapter of De La Salle’s life but at the same time the beginning of his legacy. Ending the first part with “the Founder left us a mission to continue, the question is now, how do you want to respond?” This prompted the participants to share their project which they have been developing over the last three weeks. This gradually became a platform for the participants to share ideas and collaborate.
Many of the projects presented showed a lot of concern and enthusiasm and were very insightful on the problems existing in our society. Each of the projects seemed to tackle a key problem in society, in terms of problems in our environment or even education, and it was amazing to see how everyone was so impassioned to contribute back to society. Such great passion from every group is very motivational and inspirational and prods us to work even harder in the project we wish to embark on. - S Krithikga, St Joseph’s Institution, Singapore
These projects tackle the specific needs of their country's communities, from the homeless, to raising awareness on water pollution, where we all become helping hands to uplift our society. Seeing everyone become movers in the mission lights the spark to our own fire to keep it going, to be sustainable, and remain committed in all that we do. The pledge, made more meaningful as we said it in our own languages, helps us remember the people we are doing it for, our fellow countrymen. - Maria Raia A. Ocampo, De La Salle University - Integrated School, Philippines
I learned a lot about La Salle’s life and how he overcame the challenges in his life. Aside from that, I met many fellow Lasallians who came up with brilliant projects to help the last, the lost and the least. This programme has helped me to explore ways to make myself a better person and ways to help the less fortunate - Ian George Taye, St Francis Institution, Malaysia
The programme was well received by the participants. Repetition was avoided because the dynamics of each group were very diverse. This programme is a testament that it is still possible for individuals to come together despite the pandemic.
This program was a great opportunity to have a different perspective of thinking and it was also an excellent place to listen to others opinions and be able to express your own opinion. - Haruto Itaya, Hakodate La Salle High School, Japan
I do not speak English very well. But everyone understands and encourages me. I really appreciate it I liked exchanging knowledge and getting to know more La Salle people in different countries. - Supapron Hunwan (Kaimuk), La Salle Chanthaburi, Thailand
Joining LINE was definitely an amazing and memorable experience since it was held amidst the pandemic. The goal of the programme doesn’t end with the sessions and the discussions for we have to actually apply what we have learned to immerse ourselves and help our own communities. It is wonderful to be a part of a group, the youth, who are informed and aware of what’s truly happening in the world and to be able to acknowledge ourselves as instruments to uphold De La Salle’s mission. - Shaina Andrea Badlis, De La Salle University Dasmarinas, Philippines
I felt that LINE was a good experience to be aware of other Lasallians around the world. I also felt that LINE was a good way to learn more about our founder and about the struggles he faced. Through LINE, we are provided with the opportunity to help the last, the lost and the least in our society. - Theodor Enzo Peterson, St Patrick’s School, Singapore
I really enjoyed this program, as it helped me learn not only about St John Baptist de La Salle's life, but I think the most fun part of it all was interacting with so many people from different countries with different views and opinions, that it really helped me learn so much about our Lasallian community, and even make new friends! - Francine Phang, St Joseph’s Institution International, Malaysia
Before joining the team, I thought this was going to be a boring event where I'm just going to learn the same thing that I already know. However, I've been proven wrong. Each session, I've learnt new lessons from De La Salle's life and his journey on serving the community. Proud to be a Lasallian! We are La Salle! - Shaamalan A/L Kanthan, La Salle Petaling Jaya, Malaysia
LINE really was an eye-opening journey that made us, the participants learn so many things. This program also gave us the opportunity to meet new Lasallian friends from other countries of the world. Most importantly the LINE program proves that even a pandemic cannot stop the Lasallian spirit of courage to work together in serving the least the last and the lost. - Maria Clemen Murallon, La Salle University, Philippines
The program is very good especially for new students and partners of La Salle because they will learn here the life of our founder. - Mr Joshua Philip Gozo, Adult Companion, La Salle College Antipolo, Philippines
The participants will now embark on their projects before we meet again for a catch up on 27 February 2021. Based on the evaluation, many are looking forward to meeting their friends again but more importantly, to hear about the successes of each project.
We are thankful for the countless support we have received from everyone especially from the facilitators, the participants and their adult companions who believed in the programme and journeyed with us. We hope this collaboration continues for many years to come. (Text & Photos: Ms. Ed-Linddi Ong)