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International students volunteer

The impact of a shared dream

A powerful online tool is spurring students into building more robust charity and social service programmes designed to create a greater, positive impact in their local communities.

  • International students volunteer

Students and staff at the British Vietnamese International School Ho Chi Minh City and the Prague British International school have been hard at work trying to make a difference in their communities.

From January to March this year BVIS Ho Chi Minh City organised 28 activities, spent 143 hours volunteering, collected more than 5500 goods and raised more than US$2600 to help children from underprivileged backgrounds.

At PBIS, students continued their social work for their Children to Children project supporting the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the UN’s refugee agency advocating for refugees and asylum seekers. Senior students also worked with the Czech branch of UNICEF, fundraising for School-in-a-Box kits, aluminium containers with teaching supplies and materials for one teacher and 40 students that can be used anywhere in the world.  The kits are meant to supply a make-shift classroom for up to three months and are a part of a standard response in emergencies. Overall, PBIS participated in 10 social service activities, 214 hours of voluntary service and raised US$1431 between January and March this year.

Both schools were able to track and measure their community service and fundraising efforts through Nord Anglia Education Share A Dream (NAESAD), an online tool launched last year that allows organisations to boost their social service programmes and evaluate the impact of their work assisting local communities.

Through the platform, schools can plan, execute and report on outreach activities and events, including volunteering, donation drives and work with non-governmental organisations. Schools are also encouraged to get involved in social activities based on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations. This links directly to the work schools do through the group’s collaboration with UNICEF where acts of social good enable students to stretch and extend their learning outside of the classroom.

“In almost every school I visit, students tell me of their passion to change the world for the better. Helping them develop skills to do this is core to what we offer them. The fact that they can measure and track their impact gives them even greater impetus, and we’re delighted to see it in action,” NAE’s Education Director Andy Puttock said.

Nord Anglia Education chief executive Andrew Fitzmaurice said establishing NAESAD stems from the organisation’s belief that students, parents, teachers and school staff can make a powerful difference in their communities and lead change.

“We launched the Share A Dream platform to great success and more of our schools are gradually being introduced to the platform,” Mr Fitzmaurice said.

“Our long-term goal is to see all our schools leading the charge for social change in their own communities.”

Currently 22 Nord Anglia schools, with a total of 23,850 students have uploaded and tracked their social projects on NAESAD from September 2018 to April 2019. Five more schools have joined the platform and are expected to commence tracking their social service work soon.

So far, Nord Anglia Education schools have dedicated 40,781 hours in social service work, collected 16,807 good for donation and raised a total of US$374,832. The causes championed addressed The UN Global Goals on reducing inequalities, quality education and health and wellbeing.

Developed by Alaya, specifically for Nord Anglia Education (NAE), the tool is the first digital platform of its type to capture the philanthropic profile and efforts of students to be changemakers and lead the charge for sustainable change.

“It’s a unique platform where schools can showcase their global social responsibility,” Alaya Co-Founder Niklas Van Neyghem said.

Mr Van Neyghem said that the individual work being done at schools contributed to NAE’s philanthropic profile as a global organisation for good where entire communities can create a greater impact and achieve more. However, the end goal is the holistic approach to developing each individual student.

“We want to help people track their lifelong philanthropy efforts,” Mr Van Neyghem said.

“It may start when they’re young, such as at an NAE school, and build up into their adult life at university and into their career. The possibilities are limitless.”

Our long-term goal is to see all our schools leading the charge for social change in their own communities. Andrew Fitzmaurice, Nord Anglia CEO