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How BIS HCMC Student Nini helped mark 75 years of UNICEF

Here at BIS HCMC we take great joy in our Nord Anglia collaborations with pioneering institutions such as MIT, Juilliard and of course the humanitarian aid organisation, UNICEF. This partnership seeks to empower our student changemakers and provides them with priceless opportunities to gain the knowledge and skills required to make positive change within their communities. With December 2021 marking the 75th anniversary of UNICEF it provided excellent opportunities to celebrate the milestone with meaningful projects such as The Wisdom Project.

The Wisdom Project is an engaging and emotional ‘evergreen oral history project’ where UNICEF uncover some of the lessons learned in the past 75 years, through conversations between the older and younger generation. Our own BIS Year 12 student, Nini Pham, was selected to interview former UNICEF UK President and UNICEF Ambassador, Lord David Puttnam. The result was a fantastic and in-depth 40-minute conversation where Nini and Lord Puttnam discussed in detail current issues on sustainability and what the younger generation can learn from the older generation.

Watch the 4 minute highlight video below to get a glimpse into the terrific conversation, and read below as we caught up with Nini to see what she made of the whole experience, as well as her deeper involvement in sustainability projects. 



Why were you interested in ‘The Wisdom Project’ by UNICEF?

I think it’s a great opportunity to connect my generation with the older generation. It is aptly named ‘The Wisdom Project’ as there is a lot of knowledge that can be passed down and shared over the generations. It was also a unique opportunity to speak with someone like Lord Puttman, who has had so many life experiences, as he was the president of UNICEF UK and was involved in the film industry, amongst many other endeavours.

Was there a standout section of the interview for you?

Discussing his childhood and sustainability were both very interesting talking points. To hear the situation he found himself in his youth and being able to compare that now to my generation's situation was very interesting. Our conversation on sustainability was insightful, touching on how our generation will have to take on more responsibility, but that he believes we can make a huge impact was uplifting. I was a little nervous before the call, however Lord Puttnam made it very easy and comfortable to conduct the interview. Although there were challenges with it being virtual it did improve my research skills, which I put to good use when researching Lord Puttnam ahead of the interview. This allowed me to get into more specific details in our conversation, and allowed me to develop better questions where I could see overlap between my own interests and his life experiences.

Nini Blog 2
Where did your interest in sustainability come from?

I have always been interested in sustainability, I think because I have always been exposed to those concepts at BIS and I began getting involved with it when I got to Year 10. I started a clean-up club, which led on to organising the school clean ups and our participation in the World Clean Ups. We later began collaborating with another school club, the ‘Precious Plastics Club’ to clean and re-purpose plastic litter. We are planning to do a clean-up in collaboration with an NGO and other schools in Vietnam once we are back on campus.

What are some highlights from working on these projects?

During the projects I had the opportunity to collaborate with fellow NAE students around the world, and we were able to run a virtual meeting in which we planned out what we would do for World Children’s Day, developing a shared hashtag and exchanging ideas of what each school was doing. But of course the main highlight for me was the call with Lord Puttnam, which ended up being an in-depth 45 minute interview.

Have these experiences inspired any future goals or aspirations?

I would like to continue it when I go on to University in my free time. Depending on where I attend University I will see what area of conservation is most needed and I would like to apply myself to that.

Nini Blog 3
How do you think this beyond the classroom experience might help you in your future?

Engaging in outside classroom activities is always fun. It helps me contextualise my in-classroom activities a lot of the time too as I have had some experience of that knowledge being applied in real-world scenarios, so having that link is useful. Many students do not have access to the opportunities and facilities that we have at BIS, so if we are able to help and create change then we should take advantage of that.

What advice would you give to other students who share a similar interest in sustainability?

If there are students at BIS I would say take advantage of the opportunities that the clubs offer, as you can learn a lot from others that take part in the clubs. For something like the Clean-Up days they are also very easy to register for. It’s a great chance to build relationships with others who have similar interests to you, and when you have more people working together you can go on to accomplish some great things together.


We would like to thank Nini for representing our school in fantastic fashion and we wish her the best of luck as she continues to complete her IB Diploma Programme. To learn more about our collaboration with UNICEF click here.