The Journey of our Bear Project

Did you know that many bears all around Asia are captured and treated unfairly?  Did you know they are kept in tiny cages, and jabbed with a filthy long needle to get the bile out of their stomachs? This needs to stop. We had to help. So that’s exactly what we did.

In Grade Five we have to find an I-Act project and take action. We couldn’t decide between a few topics, but then we found out about bear farming, and we decided we wanted to learn more. We started by doing some research and we learned what bear farming actually is. During the research time, we found out a lot of horrible facts about how terrible bear capture and farming is. Once we had found out quite a bit about bears and their bile, we looked at a couple of bear rescue centers, and decided we wanted to help the Tam Dao Bear Rescue Centre who were doing a wonderful job of saving bears.

After a lot of research, we decided to sign up for the UNIS Winterfest so we could raise some money. This was a big decision because we had a lot of responsibilities to take care of. We decided on a bake sale and games. We had to prepare cookies and cakes, as well as make posters, stickers and games. Lots of people were interested in our stand! At the end of the day we counted our money and we had raised 5.5 million Dong. We were really happy and excited that we had raised such a large amount of money!

And then there was COVID-19, which meant that we weren’t able to visit the bear centre right away. Only after a couple of months, once the lockdown was over, were we able to visit the Tam Dao Bear Rescue Centre and hand over our donation.

Overall we feel like this was an amazing experience because we learned a lot. We also had a super amount of fun, and helped to make the lives of Bears better. But, the bears still need more help. Here’s what you can do. To donate money, please visit https://www.animalsasia.org/. You can also visit the Hanoi bear center by booking a tour to learn more and have fun!

Let’s all take action and do what we can to help stop bear farming.

Samea & Clara, 5D

Students Give Online Music Lessons to Blossom House Girls

When vulnerable girls from Blossom House weren’t able to come to UNIS Hanoi’s campus for their music lessons this year, our students came up with a novel solution – take the classes and the love of music online! 

Since last week, the students who are part of a service learning group called Bamboo Music School, have created three types of videos: introduction to an instrument, playing the instrument, really jamming out on the instrument. And they are all available on Youtube

Before campus closures happened, High School students were providing weekly music lessons to the girls. Knowing the impact it was making to the lives of their new friends, the students vowed to find a way to keep the connection with the Blossom House girls going. 

Bamboo Music Service group reached a larger audience this week, by sharing these music videos with UNIS teachers so that teachers can share and discuss with their home base groups in elementary, middle and high school. The group hopes to share their love of music and raise awareness of the needs of The Blossom House. 

As part of this outreach, The Bamboo Music School made an appeal to source a 300 litre refrigerator for the Blossom House. Within a day, our group leader, Miyuki, Grade 10, worked with the Service Learning office to organize funds raised by service groups so that a refrigerator could be purchased. This will help keep food fresh at Blossom House during the summer months. 

Thank You! Over USD12,000 Raised for Charities

On Tuesday, May 5 (Giving Tuesday), the UNIS Hanoi community rallied together to take action and raise much needed funds to help feed and shelter Vietnam’s most vulnerable citizens.

Members of our community, young and old, took part in a virtual walkathon, a sponsored head shave and marathon thank you card project to write to health workers on the front line here in Vietnam.

As a result of collective efforts, almost USD13,000 was raised and money is still pouring in! The funds will be shared with the School’s Learning Service partners – Blue Dragon, KOTO, Blossom House and the Huong La Centre – as part of the School’s Emergency Relief Fund.

There’s still time to make a donation online (click here). Or students can bring in envelopes with their sponsored collections next week and the Advancement team will collect them from the Homerooms.

UNIS Hanoi Supports Kindness is Contagious Campaign

And our philanthropy doesn’t stop here! Viet Nam’s Ministry of Health, together with UNICEF Viet Nam has launched the Kindness is Contagious campaign, which UNIS Hanoi is supporting wholeheartedly.

The media campaign calls on adolescents and young people to be kind, tolerant and optimistic in the fight against COVID-19. Click here to learn more.

Middle Schoolers Raise Funds for School on the Boat

Funds raised by UNIS Hanoi’s Middle Schoolers have given Hanoi’s most vulnerable children more stability in these uncertain times, reveals a coordinator for the School on the Boat charity. 

Back in December, the Middle School held its annual fun run in a bid to raise money for one of the School’s long standing service learning partners, School on the Boat. A charity that helps vulnerable children living along the Red River, School on the Boat offers access to education. UNIS Hanoi students successfully raised more than USD1,800, which gives the charity and its beneficiaries much needed security in these turbulent times. 

Amélie Tortay, a coordinator at the charity said, “This donation means a great deal for School on the Boat. Thanks to UNIS Hanoi, we can continue our activities with the children during the crisis. The money will be used to finance cultural, sportive and artistic activities for children for the second part of the year 2020.”

The recent donation is just one of many that UNIS Hanoi will be making in support of our Vietnamese partners and as part of the global Giving Tuesday initiative. Giving Tuesday is a reputable philanthropy organisation that has slated May 5 as the international day of action for people to give generously in response to COVID-19. 

First Impact Fund Grant – in action for Tet!

The Bamboo Music School is a High School Service Learning group that meets weekly on Saturday afternoon to teach music lessons to children from Blossom House. UNIS Hanoi and Blossom House students enjoy spending time together both in music lessons and playing at UNIS Hanoi.

During the 2018-19 school year, UNIS students identified a weakness in our service project was that Blossom House students are not able to practice music in between lessons. With this in mind, An Nguyen and Heedong Cho took the lead this school year in applying for a UNIS Impact Fund Grant. The intention of the proposal was to purchase instruments that would stay at Blossom House for children to practice on during the week. Grade 12 leaders Minh Quan Neefjes and Minh Nguyen assisted with this proposal process. The Bamboo Music School Service Learning group was delighted to receive an Impact Fund grant and two keyboards were purchased to give to Blossom House.

This past Monday, Minh Quan Neefjes brought the keyboards to Blossom House to give the children before the Tet holiday. The children at Blossom House were overjoyed and eager to play the keyboards.

If you have a project that needs funding apply to the UNIS Impact Fund for a Grant and make it happen!

For more information visit the UNIS Impact Fund website or fill out the form directly and APPLY TODAY!

If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact us: impact@unishanoi.org

SANSE – Creating Change in Ban Lien, Lao Cai

SANSE is a student-led service group founded by UNIS Hanoi alumni, in hopes of creating a change within the local community of Ban Lien, Lao Cai. We have been fundraising and providing scholarships for local students to finish their high school education. Although SANSE has been working outside of UNIS Hanoi for a few years now, an official SANSE UNIS service learning group is relatively new. 
 
On January 16th, SANSE service group set out on our first ever trip to Ban Lien, Lao Cai. Below is a recap from a member of our group:

After numerous weeks of preparation and 6 long hours on a bus, the SANSE service team arrived in Bắc Hà District. We had a nice warm dinner and headed back to the hotel eager for the Ban Lien the next day. We got up bright and early and sat through a bumpy one hour long bus trip, we arrived at the Ban Lien school safely, and met the principle to discuss ways we could help the school. SANSE donated boxes upon boxes of books and sports equipment. We spent meaningful time with the kids and did many activities with them, including art and crafts to celebrate the Tet holidays, ball games, and dancing. In the small interviews we had with the ES and MS kids, we learnt all about their struggles, wishes, aspirations and big dreams that they have. From the experience, not only are we now able to set specific goals for our group, members now understood fully what the meaning of our service group meant. It was a very successful and meaningful trip to Ban Lien.Philippa Goh-Calalang (G09)

We hope to grow as a service group. Some of our goals include: Bringing some Ban Lien students to Hanoi for a visit, supply them with proper water filters, provide proper toiletries and bedding for the school dorms, training the school’s English teachers, this is just to name a few. We would greatly appreciate if you could support us at events such as the up-coming spring fair. – SANSE service leaders (Mai An Nguyen G10, An Nguyen G11, Annie Nguyen G12)

A New Experience For The Huong La Children

Huong La Centre is an orphanage for physically disabled and developmentally delayed children which is an hour away from UNIS Hanoi. The Huong La Centre is one of UNIS Hanoi’s service learning partners. We have a high school service-learning group supporting Huong La, who meets on a weekly basis during the school day. 

Our Huong La service learning group visit the orphanage each year, and this year we wanted to provide an opportunity for the children at the Huong La Centre to experience a musical production at UNIS Hanoi. On December 7, 19 children from Huong La Centre came to UNIS Hanoi to watch the elementary school play Aristocats. This was an exciting experience for the children who really enjoyed the musical.

We would like to congratulate all of the elementary performers and crew for putting on a truly entertaining show and thank them for being so accommodating of our service learning group and the children of Huong La.

If you would like to support our service group, we will have a booth up at Spring Fair. 

Minh van der Wielen G10 Huong La Service Learning Leader
Audrey Hanson G10 Hunog La Service Learning Leader 

Helping Hands Service Group Trip to Sapa

Last weekend, the Helping Hands Service Group travelled to Sapa to provide the students from local schools in Sa Pa with clothing and food that had been donated by the UNIS and Hanoi community. Our goal was to make sure that the students had warm clothes for the winter as well as food for lunch so that they could stay at school throughout the day.

We went to Sa Seng school to deliver the clothes and organise the jumble sale. We organised clothing in piles based on warmth as we are in the middle of winter and the mountainous region of northern Vietnam are known to be much colder during the winter. The jumble sale was a success as all the clothes were put to use. We also provided the
students with rice and cooking oil so they would be able to have lunch at school.

We also went to Sin Chai school and also brought them rice and we saw that the computers that we had previously donated had enabled them to create a room dedicated to learning about using technology for students in grades 1-5.

This trip has been beneficial in understanding that every bit of help counts as we have seen an enormous development in the facilities of the Sin Chai school over the past 5 years. A big THANK YOU to all of you who supported Helping Hands!

Operation Healthy Heart Art Auction – Get your bids ready!

The Operation Healthy Heart service group is organising an art auction consisting of ECC to High school student’s artworks. All proceeds raised from the art auction will go to funding the heart surgeries of local Vietnamese children.

Check out all the beautiful artworks below created by our talented students and teachers for the Art Auction.

Artist Statements and art pieces for Art Auction

This is a silent auction held in the UNIS Hanoi art foyer from December 2 to 12, opened for biding during school hours. You could also choose to bid online HERE.

Come and support OHH!

Operation Healthy Heart Art Auction – December 2-12, 2019

The Operation Healthy Heart service group is organising an art auction consisting of ECC to High school student’s artworks. All proceeds raised from the art auction will go to funding the heart surgeries of local Vietnamese children. This is a silent auction held in the UNIS Hanoi art foyer from December 2 to 12, opened for biding during school hours.

Come participate and support Operation Healthy Heart!

OHH Service group

Operation Healthy Heart Doing Small Changes

On Friday, November 15 some members of the service group Operation Healthy Heart (OHH) along with Ms Amie Pollack representing Heart Vietnam, visited the 6 year old Lo Van Quyen at the Hanoi Heart Hospital. 

Quyen was diagnosed with a ventricular septal defect in his heart in 2018. In May 2019, he was reconfirmed about his heart defect at a rural hospital in the Son La region and recommended to be admitted in a hospital for surgery as soon as possible because his life was threatened. 

Thanks to OHH and Heart Vietnam, the surgery could happen and was a success. Quyen was released from the hospital on Monday, November 18. Now, he will be able to have a fully happy life back in his village.

OHH group is formed by young inspiring members in different grades, committed to helping sick and vulnerable children and families.This service group started by the graduated Linnea Niklasson, obtains the funds to sponsor the medical interventions with fundraising in different schools events and the Art Auction starting on December 2 is one of them.

OHH goal at the beginning of the school year was to sponsor the heart or pulmonar surgeries of three kids and so far we save one life. 

We are very thankful for the support of the UNIS Hanoi community and we hope hope the community will keep supporting this group. OHH will keep working hard towards, the good health and well being of the most needed ones. 

Operation Healthy Heart (OHH)

Service Learning Community Event – November 16

Service is central to all that we do at UNIS Hanoi and so what better way to celebrate our commitment to a Better World than a service day as a community!

UNIS Hanoi is organising a Community Service Day on Saturday November 16 with service orientated trips that are open to our community to join. The events are run by our student service groups and/or UNIS Hanoi service partners to provide opportunities for people to connect through fun and meaningful activities.

Plan now to join the following trips:

TRIP 1: Visit and design activities to Blue Dragon Farm & Garden

The Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation is one of our closest service partners and this trip will be our first visit to their new Dragon Valley farm and garden. The trip will involve learning more Blue Dragon from their staff and helping in the newly established garden.

We are also looking for volunteers to help Blue Dragon design and make some features for the garden including some Dragons. The Blue Dragon staff will share ideas about this on the trip and we are hoping to form a UNIS Hanoi based design team to follow-up on this. Please indicate in the sign-up form if you are interested in this aspect of the trip.     

When? Saturday November 16, 8.30-16.00
Where? Dragon Valley (90 mins from Hanoi)
Who can join? All Ages (children under 15 must be accompanied by an adult)
Number of participants: 20 volunteers maximum
Where to meet? UNIS Hanoi Bus Stop
What to bring? Water bottle, Sunscreen, mosquito repellant, packed lunch, hat

Read more about Dragon Valley here

SIGN UP HERE for the trip and/or to volunteer to help design the Dragons.

TRIP 2: Fargeen Farm Visit and UNIS Community Garden Volunteers

Fargreen is a new service partner for UNIS Hanoi this year and is working with us to develop our approach to sustainable farming and food production. They have been collaborating with the HS Garden Service student and this trip will help us learn more about their own systems.

This trip will involve visiting Fargreen’s farm in the Hung Ha District, Thai Binh province which is around two and a half hours from Hanoi and will include visits to local farms guided by Fargreen staff to learn more about their approach to sustainable farming.

When: 8:30 – 17:30
Where? Hung Ha District, Thai Binh (two and a half hours from Hanoi)
Who can join? All Ages (children under 15 must be accompanied by an adult)
Number of participants: 20 volunteers maximum
Where to meet? UNIS Hanoi Bus Stop
What to bring? Water bottle, Sunscreen, mosquito repellant, packed lunch, hat

Find out more about Fargeen trip here.

SIGN UP HERE for the trip and/or to support the UNIS Hanoi collaboration with Fargreen as an adult volunteer.

Any questions,  please contact our Service Coordinators:
MSHS Colin Campbell: ccampbell@unishanoi.org
ES Kris Bezzerides: kbezzerides@unishanoi.org

Helping Hands Needed – Rice and Clothes Drives

Among the regions in Vietnam, poverty incidence is higher and deeper in the Northern Mountain and Central Highlands. Lao Cai Province, in the far North of Vietnam, is one of the poorest regions in the country. Most adults are subsistence farmers, but the mountainous terrain is very labour-intensive and families struggle to make ends meet.

Sa Pa, a popular tourist destination in Vietnam and famous for its scenery and ethnic minority groups remains one of the poorest districts of Lao Cai province. The district’s remote mountainous areas make the delivery of educational service more difficult. Other factors that keep Lao Cai’s enrolment rates the lowest in Viet Nam include language barriers, poor and outdated teaching methods used in many schools and dilapidated classrooms. Many of the Primary and Secondary schools in the area suffer from an inordinate lack of even the most basic resources and facilities. Most schools have insufficient classrooms, sanitary facilities, desks, chairs, and textbooks. Classrooms often have poor quality blackboards and some chalk, but that is the extent of their teaching resources.

This year we will be organising rice and clothes drives to support children in Sapa. Please donate any used children’s clothes or a small sum of money for the rice to B5 G18 (Mr Campbell’s office).

Helping Hands Needed – Rice and Clothes Drives

Among the regions in Vietnam, poverty incidence is higher and deeper in the Northern Mountain and Central Highlands. Lao Cai Province, in the far North of Vietnam, is one of the poorest regions in the country. Most adults are subsistence farmers, but the mountainous terrain is very labour-intensive and families struggle to make ends meet.

Sa Pa, a popular tourist destination in Vietnam and famous for its scenery and ethnic minority groups remains one of the poorest districts of Lao Cai province. The district’s remote mountainous areas make the delivery of educational service more difficult. Other factors that keep Lao Cai’s enrolment rates the lowest in Viet Nam include language barriers, poor and outdated teaching methods used in many schools and dilapidated classrooms. Many of the Primary and Secondary schools in the area suffer from an inordinate lack of even the most basic resources and facilities. Most schools have insufficient classrooms, sanitary facilities, desks, chairs, and textbooks. Classrooms often have poor quality blackboards and some chalk, but that is the extent of their teaching resources.

This year we will be organising rice and clothes drives to support children in Sapa. Please donate any used children’s clothes or a small sum of money for the rice to B5 G18 (Mr Campbell’s office).

Upcoming Service Learning Community Day – Save the Date

On Saturday November 16 we will run activities in connection to our service programme. Our goal for these events is to offer opportunities for the wider UNIS Hanoi community to connect with our service projects and partnerships through fun and family friendly visits and volunteering opportunities. More details to follow next week about how you can sign-up for the events!