Photo: SALT International School
The Community Partnership category for the 2023 International School Awards attracted many inspiring applications from international schools in a range of contexts. The value of community building cannot be overemphasised. These initiatives can range from working in collaboration with specific groups in need, helping people to reconnect, to making impactful environmental change. Schools play a crucial part in developing lifelong skills for students, and it is that part that we celebrate with the International School Awards every year.
The American School of Warsaw (ASW) in Poland has been shortlisted for its initiative supporting the Ukraine community. Developed in response to the war in Ukraine, the #ASWforUkraine project began by welcoming Ukrainian refugees into the homes of ASW community members. The initiative has involved full deployment of the ASW community, including staff, students, and parents. Students played a key role in finding ways in which the school can effectively support newly arrived Ukrainian refugees. The initiative has grown into a multi-tiered operation to support refugee movement, settlement, and nutritional support along the entire Poland/Ukraine border. This includes the setting up, through parent donations, of a refugee centre in a store front location which is serving meals to refugees on a daily basis. The shortlisted application shares success metrics, providing statistics of the total refugees housed by the ASW community alongside the total money raised. The students are working continuously to stay aware of the changing needs of the group they are serving.
Photo: The American School of Warsaw
Learning through generations
Ma Kindy International School in Réunion Island, France, has been shortlisted in the category for an initiative that celebrates intergenerational inclusion. The school is built in the grounds of a residential care home in Réunion Island in the Indian Ocean. The initiative emerged through the belief and core values in Réunion that “elderly generations are the source of memories and learning from their knowledge builds strong foundations for the future”, say the school representatives. The learning environment facilitates natural interactions between students and the senior residents, where they can “share knowledge, activities and learning experiences together, with high well-being and cognitive impacts for all”. The initiative has been implemented for five years and the school reports how students have benefitted by developing self-regulation, listening skills, caring skills and being open-minded, with the added advantage that their senior audience encourages students to give 100% effort in their activities.
Photo: Ma Kindy
Students ‘working’ to help others receive an education
SALT International School in the Republic of Korea has been shortlisted for its Love Rwanda initiative. This project sees the fully student-led operation of an in-school fundraising shop, whereby 100% of its funds are used to sponsor and provide scholarships to 15 students in Rwanda so that they may attend a school in Rwanda. The Love Rwanda initiative was developed in response to the covid-19 pandemic, initially providing relief in aid and support, including masks, medicine, and money. The initiative’s motive soon transitioned from temporary relief to helping provide education to the youths of the Kigali village, Rwanda, by giving them the opportunity to attend school. While developing basic humanity skills including appreciation and gratification, the students running Love Rwanda have been learning real-life technical skills. These include, but are not limited to, communication (sales and operation), numeracy (finances), and management (planning and operation) skills. Through constant interaction with the youths of the Rwandan community, “a relationship is built and natural exchanges of differing backgrounds, cultural variations, and even a set of beliefs and values that extend to an international dimension are formed and understood”, says the application.
Congratulations to all three international schools. A big thankyou goes to [Yellow Car] for sponsoring the Community Partnership category.