Aware, Able, Act

Have you ever heard a tree breathe?

Have you ever heard a tree breathe?

Aware, Able, Act:  separately three simple words but together they combine to make a very powerful vision.  A school’s curriculum or learning programme (as I prefer to call it) is very similar to this concept.  We constantly use words to describe and explain all aspects of education and teaching, each one with their own relevance to specific students and their progress through school, each one seemingly important in their own right: assessment, holistic, standards, creativity, progress, leadership, independent, collaborative, the list goes on…  These words can look and sound very impressive and you will often see them on most school’s websites, in prospectuses and throughout publicity materials that promote and explain elements of a curriculum.  They mean very little though if there is nothing to bring them together, to link them like a helix that intertwines through everything a school does for its students and make learning authentic.  A really good school will have a learning programme that does this, and will be fully aware of the ‘DNA’ that brings these words and their impact on the students alive.

crushing egg shells for fertiliser

crushing egg shells for fertiliser

Aware:  All schools provide students with knowledge; it is the basis of education and the key objective to passing tests and exams ultimately gaining qualifications to (apparently?) be successful in life.  There is a lot more to life than just passing examinations therefore we want our students to be inquirers and critical thinkers to become socially and emotionally intelligent, not solely to be spoon-fed and reliant upon the passing of information, there is so much more to know, to feel and to find out.  Realistically students today can find the answer to anything without a teacher (my son is forever on Youtube watching National Geographic); the important thing is the process and how to gain the knowledge and questioning its validity.

what a learning environment!

what a learning environment!

Able:  Education is not from the neck up!  It is important to allow our students to learn in the ways that best suit them, to use all of their senses, emotions and skills, to be able to learn outside of the box.  A good test (for the students and teacher!) would be to observe a class with no teacher and to see what the students would do?  Giving children the knowledge and making them aware is important but a good programme will also ‘equip’ them, give them the tools and the confidence to use their knowledge, to be independent learners and to share it with others.

we dance together

we dance together

Act:  Too many people make the mistake of jumping straight into action.  Without real awareness and the vested time in life skills, cultural awareness and confidence building then this can be a negative experience rather than a proactive one and in the long-term this can be quite damaging in many ways.  With accurate and detailed knowledge and a confident skill set young people are empowered to make a difference, and they will.  This is not a powerful vision but a reality.

going above and beyond for learning

going above and beyond for learning

The Global Citizenship Award realizes this reality and helps young people graduate from school:  Aware, Able and Acting.  You to can also be part of this learning experience and make the most of your potential as a global citizen.  Choose an Identity, set yourself a challenging target and get reflecting – we look forward to hearing from you soon.

Setting personal targets help you to flow

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Cycling is a great way to push yourself, just as many other sports and hobbies are – especially if you enjoy doing them.  You don’t always have to push yourself though as it is often just as rewarding to do something to relax and to take your mind off things.  On the flip side I also find cycling an excellent opportunity to reflect, go over previous experiences and events and to also formulate new ideas for upcoming projects and activities.  I have realised that this happens best when really exerting yourself in the saddle and taking on the terrain – the brain seems to have a positive connection with the effort being put in to get up a steep hill and the exhilaration you feel by beating a best time or furthering a maximum distance achieved.  I am sure there is a biological explanation or a proven concept for this – I compare it to the state of FLOW, a theory first explained by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.

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Flow is where you lose yourself in the function, when your skills to do something are being challenged by the difficulty of the task or a personal target to succeed.  You can often recognise that you have experienced this state when time has flown by – as a teacher it is especially rewarding when you hear your students say that they can’t believe it is the end of the lesson, ‘the time has just flown by!‘  To me this signifies that they have experienced the following attributes to their learning during that lesson:

Engagement, challenge, ownership, confidence, fun, skill utilisation and development

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I very much enjoy cycling with my own children and watching them grow in confidence as they have moved from their tricycles to learning wheels and then onto their first proper bikes.  My oldest son is now cycling with gears and is always inquiring about the science behind how they work and why they make uphill cycling easier, etc.  My daughter, who has only just turned five, doesn’t have gears on her little pink bike but loves the motivation and challenge to ride as far as her big brother – she has just rode her first 10kms and was very proud of her achievement.

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What impresses me is when I see them jump on their bikes without any encouragement and watch them ride around the garden and compound.  They set up little bike tracks and obstacle courses and challenge each other to do different tricks.  They are exploring their abilities themselves and using their confidence to be even better cyclists with a more diverse range of skills.  I want them to set themselves personal targets (Jonah now wants to cycle 20kms – without his sister!) but not at the cost of not enjoying the experience and possibly putting them off that activity or hobby permanently.  Getting the balance right is important, knowing when to let go and not to push them too far is not easy as a parent or a teacher but it is worth it to seek that optimum state of flow and an independent resilience to be successful in life.

You may also like this post: Congratulations to Poppy Mulford on achieving the Global Catalyst Award

50 posts for the Global Citizenship Award

50... but not slowing down

50… but not slowing down

The Global Citizenship Award is celebrating it’s 50th post after just under 3 months of existence.  Thank you to everyone that has followed the growth of the online award and platform for celebrating personal growth and achievement through the 16 Identities of global citizenship and UNESCO’s Four Pillars of Education.

GC Award in numbers so far:

3500 hits, 7 GC Award achievers, 7 females*, 2 Global Mentors, 4 Global Ambassadors, 1 Global Catalyst, 6 different countries (see the world map here), 2 alumni assessor and contributors**, 2 academic assessors and contributors

 *The GC Award team is looking forward to the first submission from a male (Jonah, aged 7, is close to achieving his Global Explorer Award, see here, will anyone beat him?).

**The GC Award team would like to welcome Katrin Puutsa to the team as our second alumni assessor and contributor (see the GC Award team here – we are always looking for new members).

Straight ahead for global citizenship

Straight ahead for global citizenship

Why should you do the GC Award:

1. To track your personal growth and achievements across a broad and diverse set of learning experiences

2. To develop a digital portfolio / record of achievement that can be used for future interviews and applications (see an example here)

3. To set personal targets and to become a reflective person seeking continuous improvement (lifelong learner)

4. To realise that learning is dynamic and that the skills, values and attitudes you develop are transferable and help you to become successful in life

5. To share amazing learning experiences and provide ideas and opportunities for collaboration (once you have achieved the award you can contribute to the website at anytime and build an online profile)

6. To embrace being a citizen of the Earth and everything that we can learn from it

7. It is a challenge and to achieve the certificate!

8. We always give constructive feedback and are happy to help anyone that is looking to learn through global citizenship

Reflection is what links our performance to our potential

Reflection is what links our performance to our potential

How to achieve the award and contribute to the site:

There are 2 ways to achieve the award (there are 7 awards depending upon your age and you can work through them all):

1. Keep a personal diary or portfolio of your experiences, targets and achievements across the 16 Identities.  When you have completed them all (they must be challenging) submit your portfolio here for assessment.

2. Choose one Identity at a time and set a target that will challenge you – ‘take you out of your comfort zone’.  Record the experience through a reflective process, preferably in a digital format – include some photos or video, etc.  Then submit the post for that one Identity here.  You can then choose your second Identity and so on…  We will record your progress through the website and inform you when you have achieved the relevant GC Award. We will also help you present all 16 of your Identities in a smart digital format on completion.

The original 16 Identities of the GC Award

The original 16 Identities of the GC Award

NB: The GC Award team do not claim that the original 16 Identities are the only ones that distinguish a global citizen – there are many more.  We are more than happy for you to choose alternative Identities that fit under each of the Four Pillars of Education and as long as you have completed 16 in total.

Some of our favourite posts so far:

Baking for global citizenship

World War One – a personal reflection

Finding the leader in you

From Ice to Rice

Remember you can read the posts of your favourite GC Award team members and GC Award achievers here

You can follow the Global Citizenship Award by signing up to follow this blog at the top right on the home page.  You can also follow the award on Twitter @pauljcrouch or on Facebook.

 

The Michigan Difference

Contributed by Brittany Tang

Michigan

After spending three weeks at the University of Michigan, I am starting to feel the energy in the air, the buzz of academia, the passion and excitement of being part of what is essentially a small city. The first week I dipped my toes into the academic pool of my classes. I got used to what was expected of me and how to succeed. After I felt sufficiently settled and comfortable with my studies I started searching for leadership positions and community service based clubs to join.

I ran for and was elected President of the Events Planning Committee (EPC) for the HSSP (Health Sciences Scholar’s Program) community. As the President, I help facilitate weekly EPC meetings, I design agendas and communicate with the representatives from each HSSP committee. I am also a member of the HSSP Community Service Committee. Myself, along with others in the committee plan service endeavors for the HSSP community: volunteering at the Ronald McDonald House for families with children in critical condition, volunteering at Indian Trails Camp for children and adults with disabilities, ect. I recently received an email from a 4th year MD PhD student who is working to establish an NGO to help provide health care for people in Uganda. A group of  students including myself, will be establishing a sister program for the undergraduate school to raise awareness for the NGO Progressive Health Partnership (PHP) as well as raise some funds. The link to the project is as follows: Progressive Health Partnership | People Helping People. I am also part of an organization called the VIEW (Volunteers Involved Every Week).  The mission of this organization is to “empower students to become educated leaders and create social change in partnership with local organizations and communities”. This club in particular, stood out to me because of its emphasis on global citizenship and community service. I am very excited to be part of the team!

Finally, from a more academic point of view this past week has been extremely busy because I am in the process of searching for undergraduate research opportunities. I sent out multiple applications for multiple research projects and I have had lots of very educational interviews. I am really enjoying the entire process of finding a project I am interested in researching to securing a place on the research team. I have yet to commit to a particular project, at the moment, however by next week I will have my research position. Overall, I think the most important thing to remember is that balance is so incredibly important. Attending university has really challenged me in a positive way and has allowed me to grow into the individual I endeavor to be. I hope to continue down this path of leadership, service, academia and research and I am very excited to see how this first year turns out!

To read more posts by Brittany please click here.

Acting local and thinking global with Anita

Contributed by Anita van Dam – a Global Ambassador

Since the beginning of this Year I have started working at a zoo in Kerkrade, Netherlands, called the Gaia Park. I go there once a week when possible where I work with the primates, for example cleaning the cage, creating recreational activities and making their food and feeding them.

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As a member of the EAG (Environment Action Group) in the school, we collaborated with IKEA for them to switch off all their lights during Earth Hour to raise awareness. I was the supervisor for the group and we also handed out leaflets to costumers and told them about the event and asked them to participate.

Earth Hour

Earth Hour

During my holiday, I bumped into Nancy Gibson* from the Love Wildlife Foundation. She and a few others were heading for a meeting to talk about the opening of the New Dolphinarium in Phuket and so I asked to join in. Below is a link to a rerun on the Phuket News TV about the event.

*Nancy Gibson will feature on a post under speakers soon
Anita and Nancy in Phuket

Anita and Nancy in Phuket

Anita meeting with the Love Wildlife team in Phuket

Anita meeting with the Love Wildlife team in Phuket

I am now in Direct contact with the people there and will be raising awareness in the Netherlands and the other United World Colleges in attempt to make this international.
Making Thai krathongs

Making Thai krathongs

I attended project week where I went to Poland with 5 other students to work with an organisation called Siemacha who work with children who need help in studies or whose parents do not have time to take care of them. Here I led a session where I taught the students about Thailand and had an activity where I taught them how to make krathongs.
The International Fair

The International Fair

Another event that I joined was the International Fair where I had my own Thai stand with pictures and items from Thailand as well as cooking some Thai dishes such as fried rice, rice with Thai omelette, kao man kai and sweet pork shred with sticky rice. I also participated in the international fashion show.
Cupcakes!

Cupcakes!

I also participated in Storytelling Bakery where we learned how to make cupcakes as well as decorate them. We had a story attached to each cupcake that related to each other and had the cupcakes decorated to match the story.
MUN in Italy

MUN in Italy

I have also participated in an MUN conference in Italy with the school United World College Adriatic. It was a great experience and I had a lot of fun. I made many new friends as well as learned the procedures while also getting to see the city. The topics were against me therefore I had to work harder and make my points strong in order to protect my country (India) which was being accused of things we had not done.
Thanks for the update Anita and good luck with your studies in your final year of school at UWC Maarstricht. Please keep us posted with your progress and achievements.  
The GC Award Team.
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Chipseng Thor – a man all about community partnerships

Chipseng with his wife Char by the Seuang River

Chipseng with his wife Char by the Seuang River

Last week I had the pleasure to spend three days with an amazing man and good friend who lives in Laos.  I was fortunate to meet Chipseng in early 2011 through a mutual friend of ours on a community project in Laos (one of the best service projects that I have experienced).  After observing Chipseng passionately lead the project and masterfully connect the visiting group and the local community he knows so well together I decided to invite him to Thailand later that year to experience an international school setting and to allow as many of our students and staff to learn from Chipseng as I had done.  It was great to be able to get the chance to take my family to Luang Prabang in northern Laos and to meet Chipseng and his family and to find out a lot more about what makes this man such an inspiring community leader and developer of educational partnerships.

The mountain along Seuang River where Chipseng was born

The mountain along Seuang River where Chipseng was born

Chipseng was born north east of Luang Prabang in the countryside along the Seuang River that flows into the Mekong.  He is Hmong, people that traditionally live in the highest mountain areas of Laos and other parts of South East Asia. He moved to Luang Prabang when he was only 7 years old to study because, as he told me, he had the ‘authority’ then to leave his family, even though he was the youngest son and was expected to stay in the village and look after the family.  At that time there were no roads and he had to trek and take a boat along the river for two days to get to Luang Prabang.

At that time Chipseng could only speak Hmong. He had to learn the Laos language when he got to school and spent 8 years studying and living at the government school in Luang Prabang. The school was started to give children from the rural areas an opportunity of an education.  He then attended high school for three years and met Chan, his wife. They married after high school and Chipseng’s parents came to live with them in Luang Prabang. He wanted to go to university but had to support the family and joined the Laos Army instead for 3 years. During his time in the army he felt there was a lack of opportunity to develop himself and to also support the community so he left the army and went to teacher training college and studied English for 3 years whilst working freelance as a tour guide. He joined Educational Travel Asia 4 years ago after meeting Graham Harper* on a project. Chipseng is now the project manager for ETA Laos.

*Soon to be be featured under speakers

Chipseng with the Headteachers of Pak Xeng School in a typical classroom

Chipseng with the Headteachers of Pak Xeng School in a typical classroom

Chipseng really loves his job and you can see it.  He knows everyone and he has their full trust and loyalty.  He is one of those unique people that can connect and bring people together to create mutually beneficial learning outcomes and sustainable partnerships.  He repeatedly tells me that he is happy that through his work he has a good opportunity to help and support the local people and his community. He believes it is important to develop international understanding amongst the Laos people but also tourists and international students that visit Laos.

Chipseng is passionate about the partnership of education and tourism and the symbiotic role they should have on one another. He uses a teacher who has not travelled as an example and  questions how that person can impart knowledge and understanding effectively without understanding other people and cultures.  He wants this for the Laos teachers and is working closely with Graham Harper and ETA to ensure that the communities and the schools along Seuang River benefit directly and in a sustainable manner from the increase in tourism and also from international educational partnerships.  A number of international schools and universities already work with Chipseng and visit Seuang River on an annual basis.

Pak Xeng School classroom

Pak Xeng School classroom

Chipseng took my family and I to Pak Xeng, a village about 3 hours from Luang Prabang.  We were honoured to have been hosted by a home-stay family (something every international student and educator should experience) and visited the primary and secondary school.  We met the students, the teachers and also the headteachers and shared a number of facts about our own schools and experiences.  One standout fact is that Pak Xeng Secondary School has 60 – 70 students per class.  You could tell the teachers work very hard and do their very best for the students and never complain. Chipseng and the headteachers showed me around some of the classrooms and explained that the next project is to improve the roof (which was falling down) and to replace the broken desks and benches (see photos).  I said to them that these classrooms were obviously not being used at present and they quickly replied that there were and that there was nowhere else to teach the students.

The roof above the classrooms

The roof above the classrooms

Chipseng and ETA are looking for educational partners to support the Pak Xeng School project.  The approximate cost to replace the roof and to improve the classrooms is $12,000.  If you think your university, your school, your social group, your family or yourself as an individual would like to support this project and/or visit Seuang River as part of a service learning community project then please do contact Chipseng or Graham below:

chipseng@buffalotours.com

graham@buffalotours.com

I highly recommend Seuang River as a place to visit and a community to connect with and there is no better person to do that through than with Chipseng Thor.

Comfort zone… well and truly left!

A few days ago I posted an update about our family adventures and included a few random photos / observations.  Like every adventure should, I stated that we were seeking to go out of our ‘comfort zones’ both physically and mentally and to learn something new about ourselves and the world we live and work in.  A pretty bold statement but also said with a bit of trepidation as I was about to take my young family as far off the beaten track as I have ever taken them before.  When I published the post I used the tagline, ‘When do you know you have gone out of your comfort zone?

Post surgery in Pak Xeng village 'hospital' in northern Laos

Post surgery in Pak Xeng village ‘hospital’ in northern Laos

Well, I have definitely experienced it now!  As part of our five day visit to Laos we were taken on a two day home-stay visit to a village three hours north of Luang Prabang on the Seuang River, in the Pak Xeng district.  We had an amazing time meeting the rural people of Laos and learning about the three different tribes and their traditions.  We visited a number of schools, taught plenty of songs and had some great discussions with the Laotian teachers*.  We were kindly hosted by a family in the village, ate delicious food and were grateful for the wonderful hospitality and enthusiasm to welcome us into their community.  On first meeting the village chief and the elders I did apologise in advance for the chaos and less than traditional behaviour that my family were likely to demonstrate. What I did not realise was that we would be spending two hours in the district hospital with our youngest son, Sam, that evening.

*More information in a post coming soon about opportunities to support and visit the schools and villages in Seuang River, Laos

Sam required two stitches on the back of his head after falling off a bench.  We were miles away from any sort of hospital or clinic that you would expect in ‘our’ part of the world but had to make a decision, it was pretty deep.  The two young Laotian nurses were just as nervous as we were, apparently Sam being the first foreign two-year old (even child) to have surgery in this district.  The whole village were watching through the windows, my wife was holding Sam’s arms and I had him in a big bear hug.  I had to close my eyes when they brought out the big needle and said they were going to give him a local anesthetic. With his tears and my sweat we were both saturated and exhausted after the ordeal.

It was totally right to trust the nurses, that is what they have been trained to do.  They were nervous and slower than you would have hoped (nobody wants a two year old to endure pain) but they did a mighty fine job considering the circumstance and I am glad that they were there.  This is what community partnerships is all about, learning from one another and having the confidence and trust to do so – it is and should be a mutually beneficial process.  Just because people do things a bit differently or expectations don’t always seem to be up to ‘our’ standards it doesn’t mean we should take a superior approach and not fully engage.  Nobody said it was easy either (you don’t have to cut your head open) – but that is why it is called ‘going out of your comfort zone.’

Sam is fine and we are now back in Thailand, stitches come out in a few more days time. His only complaint is that he has to swim in a shower cap until that happens – he will never live the photos down!

Wearing a shower cap in the pool - a different form of comfort zone

Wearing a shower cap in the pool – a different form of comfort zone

Congratulations to Anita van Dam on achieving the Global Ambassador Award

Learn to know, Learn to do, Learn to be, Learn to live together

To see Anita’s portfolio of targets and reflections for the Global Ambassador Award please see below on this post.

Anita facilitating another meeting!

Anita facilitating another meeting!

Comment from Anita:

My award took me one year to complete (approximately). After the initiation was started, I made a checklist of what I had already achieved and what I still needed to do. I found this award gave me a chance to organise myself and write down and reflect what I have done so far. I gained more skills such as commitment to keeping up to date with my diary and also do my best and be proud of what I have done. I enjoyed working on this award for it really challenges you in all aspects and gets you out of your comfort zone in one way or another. The journey wasn’t easy but crossing the finish line made it all worth it.

Anita in the zone for her basketball team

Anita in the zone for her basketball team

Congratulations Anita on being an amazing Global Citizen.  We look forward to hearing about your progress and achievements in becoming a Global Mentor.

 Assessed by: Paul Crouch, Brittany Tang and Sarah Travis-Mulford

Anita’s targets and reflections for the Global Ambassador Award:

Learn to Know

Business and Social Enterprise

In year 10, I joined a business enterprise at the school called the Goldfish PLC. I got the position of the public relations and learned the skills of how to earn profit from the products that we sell as well as advertise the products to make a good sale. I got to participate in many events to help Goldfish raise money for a NGO called PATT (Plant a Tree Today) foundation. A few things we did for example selling refreshments at Picnic in the Park for Peace, Arabian Nights and the Summer Concert which I went to. We also got a chance selling Christmas Cards that were designed from our own student body.

Facilitating Debate

Since I have been elected the Chairperson of the Eco-Committee, I have had the chance to hold a formal meeting with the PR Director (Sage), the Environment Pillar Leader (Paige), the Ex-Chair (Mae), a Senior Management (Mr. Crouch), the Primary rep (Jules), Teacher (Mr. Dale), ACWA Rep (Kai-Lung) and a year Pillar Leader (Panchiwa). I spent the night before finalizing my ideas and plans for the meeting and on the day while I was a little nervous I was more excited to start the meeting and make it successful. We recapped on the ideas and chose one from each theme to follow through. I think the meeting was quite successful and am ready to make another good meeting soon.

Sustainable Action and Thinking

I went on the ICE conference this year and for the Pre service trip, I went to plant trees with PATT at Prapadueng. I planted 23 trees that day and learned a lot about how that area was like the Green Belt for Bangkok and produced most of Bangkok’s oxygen. I had a great time even thought there were a lot of mosquitoes and felt like I had achieved something by the end of the day.

Learning Another Language

A new language I have learnt is Spanish. I have been studying it since year 7 and went to Peru on Exchange and RSIS to improve on my language. I have taken my IGSCEs for Spanish already and I hope I will get a good grade for it.

Target: I would like to continue this language and one day be able to communicate in it fluently. 

Learn to Be

Public Speaker     

At the Round Square Conference “We Walk Together” I got a chance to lead a Barazza group with older students. I found this experience one of the most useful and valuable skill I’ve learnt so far. For me, to be able to facilitate with older students and to gain the respect from them and have them listen and allow me to share ideas and help them out turned out to teach me so much about leadership and about respect. I realized that no matter how old one is, they are still able to have great ideas and that we should always give everyone a chance to take, no matter how small they are. Being able to lead the Barazza group also gave me many skills that I still use today when I lead a group. I got taught how to use ice breakers and get the group to all contribute. I also learned to spread out work and give everyone a chance to feedback about what they have done.

Challenged with a sense of Personal Adventure          

I have participated in Koh Chang every year since year 7. I learned many skills such as first aid, saving lives and going on many adventures such as treks, cycling and kayaking. On the recent trip, I spent the whole day kayaking to an island collecting clues and “prizes” for our allocation to stay our night. I found this adventure fun and challenging for it tested my endurance as well as team work skills. We also had to make our own dinner that night which I found very fun and had a chance to sit around a bon fire that night. On the week in Koh Chang, we also get allocated jobs within the camp for example washing the dishes as well as get lessons and sessions on interesting activities for example team building or creativity. I enjoy going to Koh Chang very much even though there were hard times and will miss not being able to go this year.

Team Player

I joined the Basketball Team since year 8 for Fobissea. At that point I wasn’t such a good player and needed lots of improvements. Today, I believe that I am a reasonable player that can shoot occasional baskets and defend the opponents from scoring. I think my passion for basketball started in year 10 when Coach told me that I had potential to become a great player.  That gave me motivation to try hard and become good at something. I thrived to achieve and practiced hard to impress the Coach and improve my skills. I got better and better. My dribbling is no longer weak and my throw is mostly accurate. I am more resilient and can play on court for longer than I did before. I am finally put first when it comes to defending and not one of the last picked like when I was in year 8. This made me realize how much I have gotten better and how I will continue to improve as long and I have passion for it. I have truly become one member of an amazing basketball team and I feel like I do truly earn the medal when we got one. I realized that not only have I impressed teachers about my improvement but I have also impressed myself. I had given myself something to hold on to and develop into something better. I am proud of what I have achieved and aim to continue doing better

Target: Continue Basketball wherever I go next and keep improving. Make more accurate shots at the basket.

Anita, right, with YaYa and Champagne at the showing of 'Girl Rising'

Anita, right, with YaYa and Champagne at the showing of ‘Girl Rising’

Proactive and Innovative

I joined Girl Up in the Beginning of term 2 for I thought this organization would be a good project to join for I am quite a feminist and believe in equality for woman in the world. As a fundraiser and an awareness campaign, Girl Up decided to host a Movie night at the Regent’s School Pattaya with a movie called “Girl Raising”. We sold tickets under the clock tower at lunch time two weeks before the show and advertised students to buy them before the day. We jot names of all our customers to ensure that they would still be able to join in case the lost their ticket. We also planned to light 100 lanterns to mark the 100 years of the death of … who died to prove the value of a woman’s life. Unfortunately, we did not have enough time and could not get them on time. We were also fortunate to have Yaya come along as a guest to our event. We got to interview her about her time at The Regent’s and her current life. I thoroughly enjoyed this event for the movie was inspiring and we raised a lot of money and it was a great success.

Target: to host another event in the Girl Up organization and raise more money to help girls around the world.

Learn to Do

Academic Achievement

An article on a global issue:

Ending Gender Inequality

Did you know that two thirds of the world’s working hours are done by women, but they only earn 10% of the world’s income? Or that 60% of 77 million children without primary education are girls?

Research says that woman own less than 1% of the world’s property, and that out of 876 million adults worldwide that cannot read or write, two thirds of that are woman. 

Ever thought how gender inequality is stopping these beautiful human from being treated fairly with respect pride?

 Gender inequality is one of the Millennium Development Goals that is considered heavily on and thought carefully through about how we can make every human being have equal chances, an equal say and equal opportunities, especially woman and girls so they can be treated fairly. Girls should have a chance to learn to read and write and finish their schooling fully instead of being taken out in the middle of education to help their parents with work to allow their male relatives to learn. According to the United Nations Population Fund women who are educated are more likely to have fewer children, become pregnant at a more appropriate age than woman who were denied schooling and will have healthier children too. Most important, they are more likely to send their own children onto full education.

Furthermore, promoting gender inequality will have a positive effect on reducing poverty, another MDG that is extremely important and thoroughly thought through. When woman get their healthy dose of education, they would be able to think carefully before doing something for example, they wouldn’t have more children than they can afford to take good care of. They would also be able to get a better and higher waged job which will also bring more respect to woman throughout the community. With women getting more wages and fewer children, they would be able to take care of their family properly thus they would be free of poverty and reducing it.

 Women with a voice make great roles in our human society with more ideas, ways to solving problems and are represented like the source of light in a dark atmosphere. By giving woman a chance to vote and a chance to have a say is like allowing a hermit crab out of its shell and when that time comes, the earth would become an unfolded map full of information.

Thailand has a few societies/foundations that help and encourage women to become brave and independent people who can express whatever they want, whenever they want and wherever they want. A very powerful person who believes in women and a book with unread mysteries is Khun Mechai. He believed in “giving women a choice” and made sure that women know how many children they’re going to have and that they and their children have a higher chance of good education and by that, you reduce the chance of a family not being able to care for their family and also increase confidence in woman. Empowered women ultimately lead to an empowered community.

To conclude, I would like to say that I do believe that women need to be equal. We must have a say and equal chances and gender inequality must be stopped. We should also advertise about this so it becomes a well-known issue and every can help to end this. Remember, “If you educate a man, you educate a person but if you educate a woman, you educate a family.”

Thank you for reading,

Anita van Dam

Culturally Aware and Interactive

I participated in all three events. I performed for Green House for Loy Krathong, I went to Kanchanaburi for Round Square week and I went to help decorate and plan the Dutch room for this year’s International Day. I enjoyed going to all of them very much and had a great time!    

Expressing the Artist in You

In the end of year 10, I participated in a play called “West Side Story”. This gave me a chance to get out of my comfort zone and try being a new character I’ve never done. I found it challenging for my character had a Latin American background and I struggled to get the accent and stay in tune with the songs I had to sing. However, I enjoyed this play for I got to bond with many new people and experience something new.

I painted this piece of Art for the Kenyan Conference. The theme was Non Existence without Co Existence. I really enjoyed painting this piece and hoped that people who saw it got inspired.

Sustainable Action and Thinking

ACWA is an animal-based organization that was created by Ms. Kay and me 2 years ago. We aim to raise awareness in school as well as help out in local communities and organisations and raise money by selling their merchandise. I enjoy being in this group and helping out. We have helped out with ACRES (based in Singapore), WFFT and Love Wildlife.

Learn to Live Together

Community Partnerships

I participated in clean up the world as well organised it to raise awareness and clean up an area in different areas in Thailand. This organisation is known globally to clean up different places in different countries. We focused ourselves to clean up a local beach in Rayong with a local community partner who helps children with AIDS. We had sessions of activity then beach cleaning. We all had a group time and I got a chance to bond with the children in my group. Although it was a hot day and the many complained, we all did our part in cleaning up the beach. At the end of the day we ended for lunch and then got ice cream for the kids. I really want to be able to participate in another event similar to this for I really enjoyed helping out in the community.

Personal Confidence

I participated in the Round Square Conference in Kenya last April with 5 other students in my school. My experience in Kenya was wonderful. Africa, like every other continent is entirely different and not at all what people think it is. Africa has a huge variety of the world’s animals and nature and beautiful cities for example Nairobi and Johannesburg. Going to the conference and meeting everyone with the same passion was brilliant but it was also nice meeting the people of Kenya and experience new things as well as help out. It is always nice to see people being so kind and caring as well as being grateful for what they have and making the best of it. Before the conference, we had a chance to stay at Starehe which is a school that runs purely by funds. The leadership skills at the school were excellent and I learned a lot. At the conference, we also got a chance to go on safaris and listen to many inspiring keynote speakers. I will never forget the memories from Kenya.

Target: To make the Ice conference as good and have great memories for students to take back.

Anita in Peru with her new friends on the RSIS project

Anita in Peru with her new friends on the RSIS project

Service Learning

Last summer I had a chance to visit Peru for a RSIS programme where I got a chance to buil a green house for a small village up in Cusco for the primary children to help with the malnourishment within the area. I got a chance to learn how to construct a greenhouse out of rocks and mud. It was challenging and hard work but I felt rewarded about what we achieved each day. In the end, we managed to make a roofless greenhouse before heading back down for 3 days break. Here, we visited hot springs, old historical Incan castles and the very famous Machu Picchu. After our rest, we headed back down for more work. We finished the greenhouse in two days after hard work and headed to build cold frames which are mini greenhouses for families in the village. Before we left, we had a chance to visit a waterfall and then had a special Peruvian lunch before a game of football with the villagers and a show in the evening where we got to wear traditional costumes while singing around a bonfire. There are so many people and memories that I will never forget and I would want to revisit them someday with my friends again.

Further Goals:

  • Get a minimum of 35 points for IB.
  • Continue being active (Play basketball for the team).
  • Contribute to the school and make a difference.