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Term One 2018-2019 Community Service Overview

Community Service Project Manager Reem Mehanna provides a summary of community service year group projects, clubs and events during Term 1 2018-2019 at BIS HCMC.

As a newcomer to the Community Service Manger post, I felt I needed to reflect on my experience working at the British International School, Ho Chi Minh City, as the first term comes to an end. Coming from a community development background, I was more familiar with what it entails to work for the cause of social change and the empowerment of the vulnerable. What I didn’t know so much about, is how to make it part of a student’s learning experience.

My first few weeks were overwhelming trying to plan for the massive amount of community service activities that run all the way from F1 to Year 13 in addition to co-curricular clubs and events. Yet when the activities started happening, the philosophy of service learning started to reveal its facets. We are educating a generation of change makers with critical minds and compassion that makes their leadership skills even more effective.

Community Service

At BIS HCMC Early Years and Infant Campus, Year 1 students made friends with children from Thien Phuoc Foster Home for Disabled Children through visits and activities. Children on both sides enjoyed themselves while being introduced to new people from outside their familiar circle. Year 2 students had exchange visits with Anh Minh School for the Hearing Impaired allowing our students to learn how other people can be differently abled and how to overcome this barrier and make a friend through play and art. Anh Minh school teachers provided short sign language lessons in the beginning of every exchange which students became quite excited about.

BIS HCMC Community Service Project with Thien Phuoc

At BIS HCMC Junior Campus, Year 4 students had a very successful exchange with Nguyen Hien Primary Governmental School. BIS students learned about PE and arts at Nguyen Hien school while Nguyen Hien students learned about fashion and electricity at BIS. Year 5 formed math groups to design games to teach students from Poussières de Vie about mathematics. It was an amazing opportunity for students on both sides to better understand mathematics in a fun way.

We are educating a generation of change makers with critical minds and compassion that makes their leadership skills even more effective. Reem Mehanna, Community Service Project Manager

At BIS HCMC Secondary Campus, community projects are part of the ILS program. Understanding more about disability, Year 8 planned for creative activities and games to share with the students at Thao Dien School for the Disabled. Those weekly visits proved to be a lot of fun for everyone, even the teachers. There was colouring, basketball, fishing with magnetic fish, ring tossing and throwing bean bags at giant targets. Year 10 have been understanding more about HIV/AIDS and they are preparing for a Christmas Party this week for children living at Mai Tam House of Hope that supports the medication and accommodation of children and women who are HIV/AIDS positive.

Integrating service learning into the curriculum

Meshing service learning into curricula is an important aspect of school life here at BIS HCMC. This term Year 8 attended sign language lessons by Anh Minh School to prepare for their residential trip where they will experience a full day activity at a centre for the hearing impaired children. As part of their persuasive language lessons, the English department organised visits for Year 8 students to different community partners. Students were asked to design an advertisement campaign for each partner which will be evaluated by a panel during Term 2. Additionally, when Year 12 were learning about taboos, they visited Mai Tam house of Hope where they learned about how being an AIDS patient affects all aspects of life personally, socially and professionally.

Year 12 have also been working hard on their CAS projects that form part of their IB Diploma Programme. Two groups of students chose to have community CAS projects working with Christina Noble Children’s Foundation and Open Heart Foundation. The Open Heart Foundation group planned an interesting campaign to raise awareness among their peers about the foundation’s cause. There were creative games during lunchtime and stickers and flyers as well.

Secondary students teach english - community service | BIS HCMC

Service learning through co-curricular activities

This term was busy with co-curricular clubs as well. We had 18 clubs in total, 5 of them student-led partnering with 14 partners both off and onsite across the three campuses. Activities in the clubs varied across realms of environmental conservation, education and simply being there for those in need. BIS students this term were interested in preserving coral reefs, cleaning up oceans and reducing plastic use. They were also teaching English language, computing skills and creative arts. They were coaching swimming and football skills. Last but not least they showed compassion visiting children’s cancer wards or foster homes for the differently abled children.

BIS Christmas BISzaar - Community Service

Community Events

On the events side, BIS secondary students led and managed a plastic-free global café during International Day making nearly 7,000,000 VND and donating this to different community partners. Junior Campus children raised 52,000,000 VND during their enterprise week which also went to supporting our community partners. Thanks to the PTG, the 2018 Christmas BISzaar was a massive hit with 107 children from different community partners enjoying the festivities, 6 community partners presenting their work and products, and 15 student groups raising awareness and funds through an array of products and activities. BIS students, parents and teachers are also taking the festivities to Thien Phuoc Foster Home for Disabled Children with a yearly Christmas party with gifts and Christmas carols.

In addition to executing all the above activities, the community service team managed to disburse the kind donations made by the PTG and students to our community partners. Amounts disbursed during Term 1 are as follows:

Community Partners Funds dispersed in Term 1 - Primary PTG



Amount (VND)

Thien Phuoc Foster Home for Children

Physiotherapy Nurse Salary


Air Purifier  (partial Cost)

Special Education Teacher salary

Anh Minh School for the Hearing Impaired

Projector and Screen


Binh Trieu School

Portable Stereos and Stationary





Community Partners Funds dispersed in Term 1 - Primary Enterprise



Amount (VND)

Binh An

Magnet Board - Air condition fan


Poussières de Vie

Desktop computer set

12, 760,000

Thien Phuoc Foster Home for Children

Air Purifier (Partial Cost)


Endangered Asian Species Trust EAST

Gibbons Cage





Community Partners Funds dispersed in Term 1 - Secondary PTG



Amount (VND)

Mai Tam House of Hope

School Fees


Thien Phuoc Foster Home for Children

Special Education Teacher





It was a busy but exciting term for service learning at BIS HCMC. The spectrum of activities I was a part of was truly vivid and impressive. Writing this reflection, I am proud to be part of the community service team who manages these initiatives daily with enthusiasm and passion across campuses. Yet what is truly remarkable about my new job, is seeing BIS students growing into global change makers dedicated to a better world. We look forward to a new term with new year projects, clubs and more events in the new year.

Reem Mehanna, Community Service Project Manager

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Community Service 1

Community Service

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