On Monday 23rd May 2016, The British School Manila’s Year 4 students went on a visit to a rural community in Tagaytay to distribute 75 solar powered lights to 75 families. The visit had a notable effect on the students and staff who spent time with the community, donating one light each to a family.
The solar panel lights donated by BSM make a real difference to the lives of people living without electricity. The amazing fundraising efforts of our Year 4 students, parents and staff throughout the year should be congratulated. The students raised funds from a stall they ran during the BSM Fete in May, as well as designing, making and selling Mother’s Day cards. It is wonderful to see all the hard work’s result in such a life-changing contribution.
Year 4’s activity is part of the BSM Service Learning programme and happens in the same week our International Baccalaureate students set out for Creativity, Action, Service (CAS) Week with the highlight on Bayanihan. The common aim of all of BSM Service Learning projects is to let our students engage with an issue of global importance and to plan and initiate a project to tackle this at a local level. Our students collaborated with a range of NGOs and charities, as well as community members; these were all committed and equal partners in the various endeavours. The range and diversity of the projects that our students were involved in last week was remarkable: building chicken coops, refurbishing computers, certificating adult education, modelling and developing interview techniques, engaging in art and drama workshops with elementary children and refurbishing a tired playroom for young children in hospital. The locations ranged from Alabang to Quezon City, from Tagaytay to La Union in the Ilocos Region, to BSM.
Results from the various projects underscore how the BSM student’s service learning goals are highly achievable and the truly life changing impact this can have on local communities. However it is not only the practical outcomes that we consider valuable, but also the partnerships and sense of community engendered by this BSM Service Learning initiative. The smiles, hugs and handshakes at the farewell moments were powerful; this experience will stay in the minds of many, for a long time.
It was indeed a privilege to see our students reach out to the local communities and work with external providers, seeking to understand local needs and let local stakeholders develop their own solutions.