CAS in the community Student-led community service projects that spark positive change - CAS in the community Student-led community service projects that spark change
Chantal Gamble
07 May, 2024

CAS in the community: Student-led community service projects that spark positive change

CAS in the community Student-led community service projects that spark positive change - CAS in the community Student-led community service projects that spark change
What is CAS? CAS stands for Creativity, Activity and Service and is one of the core elements of the IBDP (International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme) that our students follow in Sixth Form. Playing to their passions and skills, our students choose a creative experience, a physical activity and a service opportunity that supports our community partners. Each student will then complete a CAS project in one or more of these areas. From composing a piece of music to creating emergency backpacks for street children, these projects develop students' cognitive, social, emotional and physical well-being. In addition, they provide an opportunity for our students to develop a caring sense of social responsibility towards others and the environment on both a local and global scale.

At the British International School HCMC (BIS HCMC) we foster relationships with numerous community partners who collaborate with our students in authentic and reciprocal community service projects. Four community partners that our CAS students decided to work with this year were Vinh Son, a female nursing home; Wild Rhino, supporting wildlife conservation and children’s NGOs Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation and Mai Tam House of Hope.

Their CAS journeys began at our Christmas BISzaar last year where they raised awareness for their cause with a variety of fun activities. 

Fighting against human trafficking and supporting street children with Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation

At the start of term 2, our secondary expeditions began. Alongside adventures skiing in the mountains and ziplining through the jungles, we also offer community-service-focused expeditions. Students across secondary had the opportunity to make tiles for local schools in Cambodia, craft swings for the primates in Cuc Phuong, practise sign language with the children from the hearing impaired school in Dalat, and learn about Marine conservation in the Philippines. Our Year 12s visited Hanoi, where they worked together with Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation (BDCF). Founded in 2003, BDCF has grown rapidly in Vietnam working with street kids, runaway children, victims of human trafficking, children with disabilities, young rural-urban migrants, kids affected by drugs and HIV/AIDS, homeless families, child prisoners, and the rural poor.

Determined to make a difference, our Year 12 students partnered with BDCF to directly support street children in Hanoi. Through workshops on human trafficking awareness, the students gained a deeper understanding of the challenges these children face. They then channelled this knowledge into action, creating emergency care backpacks filled with essential toiletries, clothing, and toys. These backpacks provide vital support to street children, offering a sense of comfort and hygiene in their difficult circumstances.

To gain a deeper understanding of their experience and the impact of their work, watch the video created by our students below, which captures the heart of their trip to Hanoi.


Just 6 weeks later, Ms Hang and Ms Trang from BCDF joined us in HCMC to support an anti-trafficking workshop led by our students. The workshop was attended by parents and staff in our community. Through talks, storytelling, activities and roleplay, the audience learned of the intricacies and dangers of human trafficking for vulnerable people. 

An exciting Tet for the elderly at Vinh Son Nursing Home

In the spirit of the Lunar New Year, 8 CAS students brought joy to Vinh Son Nursing Home for elderly women. They organized a festive Tet concert filled with performances, games, and even a fashion show! The students went the extra mile, giving the residents makeovers and making them feel special before the holiday season.



Easter games with children from Mai Tam House of Hop

Similarly, we welcomed children from Mai Tam House of Hope for an Easter party in our Sports Hall at the start of March. 5 of our Year 12s had a great time playing games and having fun with the children from the centre, who are HIV positive.



Protecting the Rhino Horn with Wild Rhino at Tran Quoc Toan Primary School 

Six dedicated CAS students spent the past few months working alongside Wild Rhino to raise awareness about the devastating illegal rhino horn trade, particularly in Vietnam.

Understanding the importance of reaching local youth, they set out to educate the next generation. This week, their hard work culminated in a powerful presentation delivered to over 300 Grade 6 students at Tran Quoc Tran Government School. The students embodied the IB Learner Profile throughout, confidently sharing their message and inspiring action to end the demand for rhino horn.

Nam, one of our IBDP students reflected on their experience;  

“Presenting in front of 300 local Vietnamese students wasn’t easy, at least that was what we thought. However, the welcoming, warm greetings from the students as well as the many questions and answers exchanged made it more comfortable and far easier for us to deliver our message to them. The pure excitement expressed by an eruption of screaming and cheering when Joonhyung entered the hall wearing the Rhino Hero suit was indescribable with the presentation dissolving into joyful chaos within a matter of seconds. This justified the enormous effort it had taken us all to collaboratively help Joonhyung get into the suit  - all the sweat and tears were well worth that one incredible moment! Even though we presented in English, all the students were able to understand everything we shared and they even responded with some questions asking about how to support the Wild Rhino organisation, which was very surprising given that they don’t have a lot of resources. We were impressed by how motivated these students were to communicate with us and their ability to understand the message we shared”

From Early Years to Sixth Form, our students aren't just learning – they're making a difference.  Through initiatives like the Thien Phuoc Helping Hands club and weekend service projects at Ky Quang Pagoda Orphanage, they dive headfirst into community service. This commitment to social action is woven into the very fabric of our school's mission: "United as global citizens, we develop the skills and characteristics to create a more peaceful and sustainable world."

By the time they embark on their university journeys, our graduates aren't just equipped with knowledge, they're armed with a passion for creating positive change in the communities around them.