Harrow International School encourages its students to treat community service as a fundamental part of their education. Students consider their place in the world, the privileges which are theirs and their ability to improve the lives of others. Contributions to community service are required as part of the annual House Award alongside academic success and co-curricular participation
17th – 21st December 2012
(Volunteering at Wat Prachanat, Nakhon Chaisi)
Lukso N12, Hanako K12,Lily B12, Suheli C12, Amy K12, Rachel S12, Emily So12, Aveeka N12, Boom.W N12, Oppy N12, Pie B12, Autek So12, Tyler So12, Fumi B12, Harry S12, Hagai So12, Dee S12, Polo N12, Cartoon C12, Nean B12, Malissa N12, Ice N12
This trip was organized by Lukso (N12) and Hanako (K12).
The purpose of this trip was to help teach the disadvantaged children English, Maths, Music, Science and Sport in Wat Prachanat Thai School. Part of the reason for doing this is because of the ACE agreement which means that foreign workers can easily find work in Thailand and we believe that children having knowledge of the English language, math and science is beneficial.
On the first day, we were introduced to the school by the headmaster and were all asked to split ourselves into small groups in order to teach classes ranging from Kindergarten to year 7. Then we were further introduced to the students in the class assigned for us. We were certainly surprised that the children did not act scared at all and tried to interact with us as much as possible – apart from a few shy kids who became more confident as the week progressed.
Coming in at 7.50 am and leaving at 3:30pm for five days was indeed tiring, however we enjoyed every moment we had with the children. It was a great experience for us, as we got to place ourselves in our teacher’s shoes, which made us realise how hard it is to be a teacher. Even though it was challenging for most of us, we managed to earn the trust and love of the students in the school. We had to think on our feet a lot as to how to keep the children busy. As there were up to 10 students with learning difficulties, we had to plan out lessons for each group of children – this proved to be extremely confusing as the children had very mixed abilities. We had to keep them entertained as well.
Despite all the fun we had with the children, we felt like we were really treated as teachers there. We got the opportunity to actually teach independently without the teacher being there to look over the children for us. We managed to grab attention from the children through telling them stories such as the outbreak of cholera in 1854 or the famine in USSR, and to the younger children, Jack and the beanstalk and Thumbelina. We honestly cannot imagine a better opportunity for such a wonderful experience.
In our opinion, the most significant thing that happened during this trip was the emotional bond that we shared with the children.
“Getting up in the morning to meet the children has almost become a habit for me. Even after we got back, I still imagine what we would be doing when we were there at this time.”
We realized that the five days were very short-lived as we neared the end of the week, however, it was action-packed. Most of the children (and even some of us!) became very emotional near the end as all the students were hugging and clinging to us. We hope to continue this programme and visit the school in the future, to teach them and share our knowledge and understanding with the children. This is undoubtedly an experience we shall never forget.
The Lionheart Society
The Lionheart Society is a group of students from Harrow International School Bangkok. With the intentions to help those who are less fortunate, to be of service to others who are in need and to be ambassadors of social awareness on environmental safety, collaboration among friends came about from October 2010.
We have established five major projects and a number of other special projects that are specifically aimed at providing support and assistance to those who may be in need of help during unexpected circumstances.
To know more about us, please visit our website or facebook fanpage below:
Lower school – Helping Big Boss
The story of Big Boss is a tragic one: left by his parents to the care of his ailing grandmother, his future was uncertain until he was brought to the attention of Mrs Shaw, who sprang into action immediately. Big Boss has complications resulting from his cleft palate – he has what is known as a ‘Pierre Robin Sequence’ which, fortunately, is not a common ailment. Compounding all of this, his small lower jaws mean that he has significant difficulties in breathing and he has to be fed through a tube to ensure that no food enters the airway. He also has complications with breathing and hearing – all related to the above ailments. Normally, an operation would be the solution, but Big Boss needs to wait until his lower jaw to be fully grown - if he has the operation to close the cleft before the jaw grows, his tongue could obstruct the airway.
Over the past year Harrow pupils and staff have raised funds to help Big Boss – as well as organising for him to be seen by specialist doctors in hospitals. We have also been in contact with the wonderful doctors of Operation Smile who have given us advice and suggestions. The upshot of all this – we need to wait until Big Boss puts on weight and his lower jaw grows.
Community service in the Mae Sot area
NEXT visit – March 14-16 2013
Every year, Harrow's examination officer, David Eastgate, flies up to Mae Sot to conduct English Second Language examinations (KET/PET) for teachers at the local schools and from the Mae La refugee camp. We work closely in conjunction with the Burma Education Partnership (www.burmaeducationpartnership.org) who, as their website tells us, are “a professional teacher training and educational organisation offering specialist support to communities affected by war and poverty”. This organisation, winner of the TEFL.com charity of the year award (2011), is making tremendous progress with teaching and learning in the migrant communities and Harrow is proud to be offered the opportunity to work with them. Over the past year, we have sent not only cash to help pay for boarder’s needs in the PTMJC (Pu Taw Junior Memorial College) refugee school, but have also supplied pens, paper and other items requested by the teachers of Irawaddy school, Sky Blue school, Husa Ka Han Sar school and Pyi Chit school. We provided 9000bt to clear the arrears for Phi Chit school to enable them to get support from a local governing body, and recently funded the BEP by purchasing them a motorcycle in order that they can move freely between the schools, rather than waiting to hitch a ride because there is no public transport. Often, the main form of transport for the helpers is bicycles which is time consuming and exhausting – there are many hills in the area..
DONATIONS to the Mae Sot Community
Recent donations to the Mae Sot community included some money to pay for a Christmas party for a group of children, and money to purchase a printer for a local community school.
We continue to assist those in need and look forward to our visit on the 15-17 March
RICE CROPPING – The Challenge
In Thailand, over half the arable land and half the country’s labour force works in the rice industry – making Thailand the world’s largest exporter of Rice. The Rice Cropping challenge will take place over three consecutive weekends at the end of March and is limited to 15 pupils per weekend. The challenge is quite simple. CAN YOU EARN THE MINIMUM WAGE for two days? Participants will be expected to work in rice paddies like traditional workers, and will be paid the wage a normal worker earns – but be warned... the wage is calculated according to the weight of the cropped rice. Participants will spend the night at the site, and food will be supplied (at a cost). Mr van den Berg, Miss Dava, Mr Mead, Mr Mc Donald and Mr Machin will participate as well to see what it takes to earn 185bt per day.
All participants need to be in Year Nine and above and have no other commitments for their respective weekend. This is an opportunity to see what over 1 million people in Thailand do for a living and also allows pupils to challenge themselves.
Do you have what it takes?
Kon-Tiki was the raft used by Norwegian explorer and writer Thor Heyerdal in his 1947 expedition across the Pacific Ocean from South America to the Polynesian islands. It was named after the Inca sun god, Viracocha, for whom "Kon-Tiki" was said to be an old name. A few year 10 pupils will replicate the spirit of this adventure by building their own raft (under careful supervision – sea-worthiness will be certified!) and then spend 24 hours on the Harrow Lake doing several challenges: cooking, sewing, kayaking and fishing, to name a few. If this is successful, a bigger kontiki challenge will take place next year with a larger group of pupils taking part.
LIFE SAVING COURSE
The American Red Cross Life Saving certification will take place over the weekends of 16/17 March and 23/24 March. Participants need to be a minimum of 15 years of age must be able to do the following before the course starts:
1. swim 300 metres continuously
This internationally recognised certificate will teach pupils the skills needed to rescue people from water, as well as prepare them with the necessary skills to provide first aid. The course is 28 hours long and has both a written and practical component. Training will take place at Harrow and be taught by Mr Machin and Mr van den Berg. So far over 20 Harrow pupils have passed the course – for more information please contact the Leadership in Action Team.
Klong Toei visit Harrow
As part of Harrow’s outreach programme, Children from the Klong Toei slum visited Harrow on Saturday 6th October for a swim, indoor and outdoor football, and lunch cooked by Harrow staff, pupils and parents. Screams announced the arrival of the 50 children as they raced down the walkway, desperate to dive into the pool. Trying to get them to shower was the most difficult task of the morning, but once this was accomplished there was laughter and shouting for the next two hours. These children only ever swim in the black water klongs around Klong Toei, so diving into crystal clear water is a great experience for them. Few sounds can better that of a group of children having fun and it was a privilege and a pleasure to have these children under our care for the morning. 7 pupil and staff lifeguards monitored the pool continuously whilst a few pupils played badminton and basketball in the Sports Hall with a few of our guests.
Whilst this was happening, a military style operation was underway to cook chicken and hamburgers – all donated by pupils and parents. The cooking took almost 2 ½ hours but the smells certainly suggested that something was going well. Lunch ready, every child was provided with hot food, plus drinks, crisps and biscuits. All extra food was loaded onto the buses and sent back home with the children.
Harrow Adventure Race
Every year the event has two categories, allowing pupils as young as 8 years old to participate, while seasoned athletes can rush off into the distance. Under the careful watch of Harrow teachers and our friends from Bike Zone and AMA Thailand, everyone is encouraged to complete the course: all participants are expected to help and encourage one another and the motto “No one left behind” is our maxim.
And so to the 2012 edition – at the signing in point, every competitor was given a Bamboo pole “friend” who needed to be taken along for the event. Other obstacles - a swim in the lake, but no cycling…. Grass skiing and a three legged start. A few trips to the bottom of the pool, a visit inside school… Into some classrooms - Sudoku and a maths challenge awaited. Some bean bag drops and basketball shots… up stairs and out of doors, past the lion as it roars…
Over 140 pupils, staff and parents took part in this highly successful and fun event. A big thank you must go to all the staff and parents who helped to marshal at the event. See you next year – where even more obstacles have been conjured up….
Pakkred Christmas Appeal
For two weeks before and after school, fundraising was held at the Clock Tower. Every person who donated 100bt was allowed a sticker with his/her name which would be stuck on the present. Whilst this was taking place, enthusiastic parents made several trips to China Town to procure all the items, depositing them in the Leadership office, which soon resembled a toy store! And then, suddenly, we had reached our financial target – but now, 500 presents needed to be packed.
Solution – get pupils to help. And so, on Friday 7th December, all the items were strategically laid out on tables down the walkway. As pupils, parents and staff departed, each person was given a bag and asked to fill it with an item from each table – then to tie a bow, and stick on a named sticker. Hey Presto – like magic, 500 presents were ready to go!
At the same time, parents contributed to specific items required for Noh Bo academy in Mae Sot. Noh Bo is a Karen boarding school catering for many displaced Burmese Karen young people as well as local Thai Karen. Thanks to generous donations, we were able to send over 500 flip flops, 200 toothbrushes and toothpaste, shirts, jackets and toys to the children in this economically poor region of Thailand. A mention must go to Harrow’s examinations officer, Mr David Eastgate, for his tremendous efforts with the Mae Sot schools and Refugee camps.
On Tuesday 11th December, around 20 Harrow pupils from all sections of the school went to Rainbow House to be a part of the party. Here, they interacted with the orphans from the YWCA, Rajavadee Girls’ home, Rajavadee Boys’ home; Kret-trakarn Girls’ home, Poomiavate Boys’ home, CCD, Wat Koo school, Mitrapab school and Salak Nua school. Harrow parents also generously donated over 35 000bt to purchase food and drinks for the party itself.
It is always better to give, than to receive. We would like to thank all the parents who gave their time, effort and money to bring 500 smiles to the Bangkok orphans. Without you, this would not be possible. A special thank you must also go to Mr Tim McDonald (Head of Churchill House) who liaised with the YWCA and Rainbow House to distribute the presents, and to Miss Suzanne Hunt who made so much of this possible. To the Christmas Committee parents – you were fantastic. Thank you.
Chaiyapruk “Teddy Bear” Ride
The 30km cycle starts on the edge of the Lum Luk Ka golf course and meanders its way through beautiful countryside, avoiding main roads for almost the entirety of the journey. Stops are mandatory every 10km where enthusiastic parents hand out ice cold water and pass on words of encouragement. Crossing different klongs four times, bisecting rice paddies, steering past Mosques, this cycle is the ideal course for the novice cyclist who wants to test his/her newly acquired skills – all under the watchful eye of several Harrow teachers. It is also very beautiful with the abundant bird life looking on disparagingly as we disturb their morning wading…
Ride For Rainbow
This year’s event took place on December 9th, having been postponed from September due to Tropical Storm Gaemi. At 5:45am with the sun struggling to raise its sleepy head, Harrow and St Andrews pupils streamed into their respective schools to board buses to Ayutthaya and the start of the 4th Ride For Rainbow. Tension and excitement was in the air as nervous chatter permeated the cool morning. Ahead lay a 70km scenic cycle through the rice paddies of Ayutthaya, a river crossing of the Chao Phraya, and finally, arrival at Rainbow House Orphanage (CCD). All 150 participants arrived at Wat Chai Wattanaram in Ayutthaya with a sense of nervous anticipation, before separating into two groups and heading off under the careful watch of the local police escort. The cloudy skies were welcome as we meandered around the rich green rice paddies, admiring the wildlife around us. Keeping to a steady pace, the groups ambled along to the water points, before a welcome lunch at a rural restaurant after 40km provided an opportunity for sore bums to get a well-deserved respite from the saddle. Lunch completed, energy levels restored, a slightly brisker pace was set to the Chao Phraya river where a ferry awaited to deliver us to the other side and the final 4km cycle to Rainbow House. Here, a welcoming committee cheered the cyclists, before a magic show enchanted the tired cyclists.
We would like to thank our sponsors: Bike Zone, Spice Roads, AMA Thailand and RSM Thailand, without whom this event would not be possible. Likewise, a special thanks must go to Harrow parents who manage the water points and provide other logistic support.