Operation Red Packet is an annual event at CDNIS where students and teachers donate some money that they had collected as “lai-see money” (紅包） from Chinese New Year. This year, it was hosted by the Amnesty and UNICEF organizations, and the money, as part of both groups’ foci, went to AIDS Concern, a local NGO that helps to provide equal healthcare to AIDS sufferers. Both organizations felt the need to create more public advocacy on this disease, to deliver more education on HIV, to provide support for affected people in Hong Kong. The event was a great success, seeing as we received much support and many donations from students, and teachers were very enthusiastic; overall, there was a great response from the CDNIS community, and we really feel that we got the message across and were able to raise more than $7600 (thank you CDNIS!). We hope that next year’s Operation Red Packet will be just as successful, if not more!
The Reading Tree is a club that aims that seeks to establish a transferable English curriculum in order to support learning environments within the local and global community. Our club is separated into 3 main sectors; Communications & Marketing, Fundraising and Education (Lower School, Kids4kids, Myanmar) and each has their own duties within the club. The following are a few events our club has done this year.
Event #1: Lilypad programme (Lower School Buddy Reading Team)
The Lower School Buddy Reading team, now renamed as the Lilypad program, has been fostering the reading and comprehension skills of Grade 1 students here at CDNIS. The volunteers develop lesson plans for the kids every week that are interesting and also educational. We plan to refine our lesson plans so that each kid has a more personalised plan that will help their reading skills grow even further.
Event #2: Kids4kids Booth (Kids4kids Team)
Kids4kids is a reading session that seeks to teaching local school children aged 4-6 english.The kids4kids team plans each reading session for the children, from the fun activities and games to picking books for group reading. Each session introduces a new everyday topic with related activities. Some examples include, worksheets, presentations and crafts. It is a programme with our club is actively involved in. Our Kids4Kids program has received an award from the organisation we are working with for the “Most Creative Session Planner” this year, a great honour for our dedicated kids4kids team. This year, in order to encourage volunteers to participate in kids4kids and tell them what it is about, we set up a booth and had cupcakes to attract people from outside of the club to take part in the programme. This was very successful, with many volunteers wanting to come again after experiencing the fun reading sessions once. They helped not only for the team to grow and expand, but also helped the children in the program. Each individual child had their own buddy who could teach them at the child’s own pace of learning.
Event #3: CD Player Drive & TRT Website (Myanmar Team)
The Myanmar Team is working to increase the sustainability of the Myanmar CAS week education program by developing interactive audio lesson plans, aiming to further build on the knowledge taught to the children through the CAS sessions. We had a successful CD player drive to collect various CD players which would be brought and left in Myanmar, along with CDs containing the audio lessons, for the teachers and students to use all year round. We have also developed a website in collaboration with the Communications Team to house the resources we have developed, so others aiming to teach children English can use and benefit from them as well.
Event #4: GIN Event (Communication Team)
The communications team had recently planned a GIN Event with RESPECT during InGINuity week to advertise our club and show the upper school community what our club does. The GIN event included a short skit about the importance of education, and an activity session with grades 1 students which ran similarly to the Kids4Kid sessions our club does. We played games and had one on one reading sessions with them, which they throughly enjoyed. The audience members were also invited to join the activities and participate in the reading sessions with them.
Event #5: CDNIS Bid 2 (Fundraising Team)
The fundraising team had raised more than $10,000 at the annual CDNIS BID and have collected a variety of MP3 devices to use for audio books in Myanmar. We plan to organise more fundraisers that advertise our club’s mission to empower through education and pull the CDNIS community together for a common cause.
Just before Christmas break, UNICEF proposed and ran a poverty simulation for Grade 4 students. The simulation introduced them to some of the emotional effects poverty and the inequality of the living conditions that are rampant in some underprivileged parts of the world, where people are discriminated against for being who they are and the socio-economic class they occupy. During the simulation, the young learners were put into families who attempted to earn money to survive by working in different booths where they were required to do various tasks. Each family had a distinctive social status and condition, with both the well off and the economically challenged represented. The families were treated differently based on their monetary situations and paid according to their economic class, which caused those having the experience of representing families with lower social status to gain some insights into how emotionally painful the unequal treatment is. During the debrief of the activity, the 4th graders reflected on the experience of being treated so conspicuously unfairly for occupying a socio-economic level over which they had no control.
UNICEF’S WINTER CLOTHES DRIVE:
In late October and early November, UNICEF collected gently used donations of winter clothes from Upper School students to benefit the refugees aided by Christian Action, a non-profit organization based in Hong Kong. In a friendly class competition to “win” a free dress-down day, each grade also donated money in addition to the clothes, with the funds collected being NGO-distributed in a way to help most effectively those in the most need. The drive raised more than $2,000 and yielded 4 large boxes packed full of clothes.
On the 7th of December, Amnesty CDNIS hosted the annual “Vow of Silence”, a school-wide activity to raise awareness about those in the world who do not have a say in their human rights. By challenging students to not speak for an entire school day, we allowed them to experience the life of those who do not have a voice, or whose voice is not heard. All funds from sponsorships went to Amnesty International and Justice Centre, both organisations that support and advocate for human rights, one local one global, especially for the right to free speech.
The main learning outcome we connected with the most is the statement “I understand that every human being has basic universal human rights, no matter what culture he or she is from. “ As a result of advocating for this human right violation, we brought light upon this issue and was able to allow our school community to better understand this learning outcome. As Amnesty is based upon advocating for human rights, we found it very fitting to be able to use this valuable opportunity of sharing our passions. Furthermore, the lunchtime activities to enhance the challenge allowed for first-hand experiences as to not having one’s voice heard. Through utilising different methods of communication, students explored the variety of ways in which a message could be presented.
Thailand Build Trip:
Habitat for Humanity is a non-governmental organization originally founded in the United States; their mission is to have “A world where everyone has a decent place to live.” It advocates for affordable housing, supports sustainable development and promotes dignity and hope for everyone. Inadequate housing is a significant global issue that needs to be addressed as it is a leading cause for poverty. At CDNIS, the Habitat for Humanity (HFH) chapter (https://www.facebook.com/hfhcdnis) focuses on promoting awareness of the global issue of substandard housing to the school community. This past September, around 20-30 participants (students and teachers) joined a build trip to Rayong, Thailand to build a home for a family in need. This was Habitat’s fourth time in the country after volunteering and visiting in 2010, 2012 and 2014. Students helped to construct a safe and decent home for a family in need by doing a multitude of tasks, such as moving bricks, mixing cement and laying bricks. Students got the opportunity to interact with locals from the village and see first hand the impact that they were making. It was a lot of physical work, but students thoroughly enjoyed the experience as they got to bond with people from different grades and personally take action to help improve the global issue of inadequate housing.
Click the link to watch a video summary of our trip!
Paint Your Hat Event:
The CDNIS, Habitat for Humanity (HFH) club (https://www.facebook.com/hfhcdnis) focuses on promoting awareness of the global issue of substandard housing to the school community. This year Habitat for Humanity hosted its 7th annual Lower School fundraiser: Paint Your Hat! This year, we chose a hat as the themed object because those who build homes need to wear a building hat to ensure their physical safety. The Paint Your Hat Event took place last month from November 28 to December 2nd and lasted a total of 5 days. Lower School students from Prep to Grade 6 were invited to sign up to decorate their own hat. This annual event helped to raise awareness for Habitat for Humanity and the issue of substandard housing and the proceeds are used to subsidize CDNIS’ International build trips. This was an incredibly successful fundraiser and we would like to thank all parents, staff and students that made this event possible.
Averaging one event per month, this year’s UNICEF club has been working hard at fundraising and raising awareness for the seven goals of the organisation. These fundraisers have included a winter clothing drive, donation collection, a cotton candy sale and the UNICEF bake sale, which has been the highlight so far. The bake sale also served as a means to raise awareness for UNICEF’s goal of eradicating hunger, with the prices corresponding to certain statistics and a slideshow educating those in line. Future events for UNICEF will focus on the goals of reducing poverty and the importance of clean water and sanitation.
A small group of Grade 11 leaders embarked on a 3-day trip to Guangzhou, China to partake in Habitat For Humanity (HFH) (https://www.facebook.com/hfhcdnis/?fref=ts) Young Leaders Build program. Despite having a shorter duration in comparison to CDNIS HFH’s other International Build Trips, this was due to the nature of the trip being slightly different as well. As this was a collaboration between various organizations other than CDNIS, there were many volunteers who were new to service learning, and this provided a first experience where we were tasked with brick transport, digging foundation, mixing cement, and building walls. “Building Homes, Building Hope” is one of the key slogans that represent HFH and many of us were able to witness this firsthand. We encourage many of you young leaders to take advantage of the plentiful opportunities that not only HFH offers but other organizations or events as well. Involving yourself and becoming an engaged member of the wider community and take small steps towards reaching larger goals! Good luck everybody!