International Baccalaureate Organisation helping to match schools from region to those in tsunami stricken areas
From CNA (Mar 20), "NGO seeks help of educators in developed countries to help tsunami-hit schools", by Pearl Forss:
The International Baccalaureate Organisation, or IBO, whose Asia Pacific headquarters is in Singapore, is now working on long-term assistance, matching schools from the region to those in tsunami stricken areas.On a related note, from CNA (Mar 20), "RGS students to help tsunami victims with T-issue fundraising project", by Yvonne Ang:
Despite the flood of donations, many schools in tsunami-stricken areas still lack basic amenities: no desks, few textbooks, not enough teachers and a severe overcrowding of students.
To tackle these problems, IBO hopes to enlist the help of educators from developed countries.
Peter Kenny, Head of Projects, IBO, said: "An example may be a small primary school in Singapore of about 500 children, so I try to match a similar school in Aceh. We facilitate the meeting and they work out a plan of how they can help within their limitations. So it could be donating materials such as textbooks, desks, chairs, rebuilding a playground area for the early childhood sector of the school, to hopefully more interactive parts where student exchanges will take place, students from Aceh will come to spend a month or two in Singapore and this really has an enormous impact on that child."
IBO also hopes to see scholarships set up for the students, and exchanges organised for the teachers.
So far IBO has matched 200 schools from all over Asia Pacific to 200 schools in the tsunami stricken areas. Each project requires a minimum engagement time of 3 to 5 years and also long term expenditure of thousands of dollars. But this has not deterred most schools from pledging their commitment.
Peter Bond, Principal, Australian International School Singapore, said: "More than just raising money and donating it to a charity, to have hands on experience where we build a relationship with the school, we develop some links via email, school visits, and in other ways, to get a close relationship with the community that is struggling to rebuild their lives. I think that gives our students a stronger sense of purpose about why they do community service."
IBO says Singapore's Education Ministry has contacted them to look at how Singapore schools can help.
The organisation aims to match 1,000 schools in tsunami stricken areas by the end of this year.
Secondary Four students from Raffles Girls' School are making waves with T-issue, a fundraising project in aid of Sri Lankan Tsunami victims.
These enterprising girls hope to meet their target of raising S$100,000 through island-wide sales of specially designed packets of tissue.
Lin Wanjie, Designer, said: "Essentially, we feel that the tsunami issue is a really big disaster which requires our continuing effort. However, people's attention spans are short, so by making these tissue packets and giving it to them, we may remind them that they need to continually support the tsunami."
While lending a helping hand to the tsunami victims, the students have been exposed to many new learning experiences.
Amanda Chong Wei-Zhen, Head of Publicity Committee, said: "It really taught us to be resourceful in the business world, and we had to go out canvassing so we learnt that we had to be very persistent. We were really motivated by the fact that this was for the tsunami victims, so we managed to do everything, despite having schoolwork to do at the same time."
Teachers and parents have also been supportive of their effort by actively buying up the packets of tissue.
The money raised will be channelled to relief efforts in the disaster hit areas.
In addition, plans for school expeditions to these areas are already in the pipeline.