One way that all people can make a positive difference in the world is to give – either of themselves by doing volunteer work, or by donating money. Quite simply, when you give you are helping those in need. Charity is a humanitarian act which seeks no reward. Interestingly, research shows that people that give to others, whether in time or resources, experience greater happiness, contentment and satisfaction with life.
To encourage this sense of charity in our students and to support communities in need in Vietnam, AIS has an established partnership with the Loreto Kids Charity. Last year AIS students raised sufficient funds to build and equip a toilet block for Thot Lot Primary School in the Duyen Hai District of Tra Vinh province. This is making a real difference in the lives of over 110 kindergarten students in a relatively impoverished rural community about 160km from Ho Chi Minh City. In fact, fund-raising efforts were so successful last year that, in addition to building the toilet block, there was enough money left to buy fifty bicycles and helmets.
When our students saw how owning a basic, inexpensive bicycle could make such a profound difference in the lives of not just students but entire families in remote rural communities, the decision was made to make Loreto’s “Wheels-for-Education” project the focus of the school’s fund-raising efforts in 2016/2017.Many rural students have a long way to walk to school. Providing bicycles to worthy students who live considerable distances from school allows them easier access to education, healthcare and other amenities.
Student groups have quietly been raising money for the “Wheels-for-Education” project throughout the year. However, this has become a major focus in Term 3 and fundraising efforts are ramping up. Homeroom groups are organising and staging fundraisers ranging from Mystery Movie nights at a neighbouring cinema to Kepi raffles, while student groups such as the Prefect team and the Student Representative Council are selling food and drink at school events like Sports Day and AIS Open Day. Every dollar raised is helping to make a real difference in the lives of children less fortunate than those who are able to attend AIS.
AIS students are determined to achieve the 100 million VND fundraising target that has been set. I have been impressed by the ownership that our students have taken over this commitment. Invariably the fundraising activities are student-initiated and student-led. I would encourage all members of the AIS community to support their efforts, and what is a most worthy cause, throughout the remainder of the semester.