NAU has joined with UNICEF with a challenge to schools to tackle Global Goals 2 and 3, Zero Hunger and Good Health and Well-being. Schools have been asked to address one or both of these goals by creating a sustainable project within their local community. Led by a student group, each school has to create a detailed action plan and submit this along with a video which brings to life their chosen project. It is hoped that the projects themselves will make an impact on the local community but a key goal of this challenge is to create opportunities for students to develop their leadership skills, broaden their international mindedness and benefit from interdisciplinary and vertical learning opportunities.
Here at BISS we are ambitious and so our response has been to come up with a genuinely impactful and sustainable project that will have life beyond this challenge. After much discussion and work with our KS3 students and Global Classroom lead students and teachers, we have decided to strengthen a partnership that already exists to a local organisation. Our Global Challenge Project aims to create a sustainable support and learning partnership between our BISS Community and the Huaxin Disability Centre Community. (see below for information about the Huaxin Centre). Through this partnership project we believe we can make a positive impact on the health and wellbeing of the children and parents of the Huaxin Disability Centre (UN Goal 3). In doing so, we also hope to have a positive impact on the wellbeing of our own community. And, because we are ambitious, our project will have 4 strands that we will work on throughout the coming year and beyond.
1. Establish a regular Sensory Playgroup at BISS for the children of Huaxin
2. Build sensory play-spaces at the Huaxin Centre
3. Provide a calendar of Parent Wellbeing Activities for the parents of Huaxin
4. Build an awareness raising and fundraising programme to support the project activities.
We are already underway with this project and have hosted our first Sensory Playgroup here at BISS. 12 children, with varying disabilities, from Huaxin came and took part in a carousel of 5 stations of activities. Prepared and led by a group of student volunteers, each activity was carefully prepared to focus on a different sensory experience to help with the physical, mental, social and emotional development of the children. The event was a great experience for all involved and our students certainly gained as much as they gave. We are really looking forward to our next playgroup which will take place in June.
Henry, Year 9 – “we gained a new perspective and a sharper insight into the communities that surround us in Shanghai” “it was more difficult than I expected to gain their attention and keep them interested” “we should learn from what we did this time and keep the activities that worked and add in some new things”
Camille, Year 7 – “I liked the whole experience, such as taking care of the kids and trying to do something good for them”. I think they liked being in a new and better environment which was fun and safe.” “I learnt that there are many types of sickness, mental and physical sickness, and these can make life very difficult for the child and their family.”
Edward, Year 9 – “I think it is a great experience for them and for us. I did my best to take care of them and entertain them and I personally think they enjoyed the activities. But I also learned a great deal and it made me appreciate my own life and family.”
The Global Challenge student group submit their video and action plan this week and then we will be ready to share all the details with our wider school community. We will be documenting our journey on our website and social media so do check in regularly for updates on our progress, and to find out how you can support. We really hope that this project will pull in people from across our school community – students, staff and parents – so let us know of you would like to get involved. It is a fantastic opportunity for us to make a difference to the lives of others – small actions but big impact and a great learning opportunity for everyone involved.
Thanks for your support.
Niki Meehan, Vice Principal
Background Information about HUAXIN CENTRE
Their mission is “Respect life, give support and hope!”
The Shanghai Hoaxing Rehabilitation and Education Centre for Disabled Children is a non-governmental organization helping children with infantile autism, cerebral palsy and other motor disorders. It was founded in 2004 and is located in nearby Hoaxing Town, about 15 minutes from BISS Puxi. Their small team of (5) physiotherapists and (3) doctors provide as much support, guidance and therapy as they can to approximately 30 - 40 children and their families.
More than 80% of the Huaxin patients are from migrant families, mostly from very poor family backgrounds. The majority of them are of school or pre-school age. Their disability prevents them from being able to join a regular school, and without registered permanent Shanghai residence, they find themselves unable to attend any of the government-run special needs schools. In order to provide the Hoaxing children with a learning environment, one of the Huaxin volunteers with a background in education, Diana Johnston from the U.K., joined in 2014 and set up the “Huaxin Special Needs School program”. Ever since then, the Huaxin children have had a place to learn alongside therapy. As this school caters to non-registered migrant children, there is almost no government funding and the centre is run on donations and aid.