International Teachers Make Life-Saving Impact through UNIS Hanoi’s Social Committee Event
A little heart continues to beat thanks to the Charity Teacher Trivia Night organised by the UNIS Hanoi Social Committee.
The mission of the Social Committee is to spread happiness and build a strong community both among UNIS Hanoi faculty and staff as well as within the larger international teaching community in Hanoi. Organised by the Committee since 2018, Charity Trivia Night has been popular with many who joined for fun while also helping to raise funds and awareness for good causes.
The Trivia Night in February was organised by Carolyn Jeziorski, UNIS Hanoi’s Elementary Librarian. It was an inter-school charity pub quiz that saw over 100 participants from five international schools compete in a battle of wits. The participants chose to share their Valentine’s Day love with Heartbeat Vietnam, an organisation that helps low-income families fund heart surgeries. 22,200,000 VND was raised from this successful event, and the donation was made in February by Brycen Davis, the Social Committee chair.
Heartbeat Vietnam immediately allocated the funds to save Nha Uyen, a 6-month-old baby girl who had her heart surgery on 10 March, 2023, at the Cardiovascular Centre in E hospital in Hanoi.
Like the other children that Heartbeat Vietnam helps in 63 provinces of Vietnam, baby Uyen’s family in Da Nang were unable to cope with the financial burden of heart surgery. When she was just over 1 month old, she was found to have a congenital heart defect. Her parents brought her to the Danang Hospital for Women and Children for examination, but sadly, she was too underweight to have open heart surgery. Her defect worsened within a short period of time and she was referred to a higher-level hospital, the Cardiovascular Centre at E Hospital in Hanoi, for an immediate surgery that costs 3,800 USD. Uyen’s family is living in a rented house on her father’s earnings of 171 USD per month, which is the family’s sole income. Daily living expenses are already a financial burden for the family, let alone the huge surgery costs that they couldn’t afford.
Thanks to the donation from UNIS Hanoi’s Trivia Night, national medical insurance, and other matching funds from Heartbeat Vietnam, Nha Uyen had a successful surgery on 10 March and is now recovering in the hospital.
Mr Davis and Mr Mack paid Uyen and her mum a visit last week in the hospital. “It was such a wonderful way to celebrate our first inter-school charity event post-COVID”, said Mr Davis.
The UNIS Hanoi Social Committee would like to thank teachers from BIS Hanoi, Concordia, HIS, St. Paul and UNIS Hanoi for contributing to this meaningful event. A big thank you also goes to the businesses that donated prizes for the raffle, including Furbrew/ Garden, Simple Coffee, Pace Kickboxing and Fitness, Eastern & Oriental Tea House, Gather, iVegan, Naco Taco, Turtle Lake, Red Apron. Together, we saved a life!
The UNIS Hanoi Social Committee is planning a final teacher trivia night in May, with proceeds going to one of the animal charities, and we hope to see many of you there.
A Meaningful Week of SDG Exploration
The Kindergarten children are spending the SDG week delving into 6 different SDGs and thinking about how they can make a difference.
Focusing on SDG 13 - Climate Action, students discussed the arctic polar bears and how the ice is melting, and their homes are becoming ruined, due to global warming. They then thought about what differences they can make at home?
The students then looked at what happens to the animals and plants under the sea when the salt level changes (SDG 14 - Life below Water)? What happens to the pollution and oils that have spilled into the oceans? What can they do to help?
A group of Kindergartners explored SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions. They made paper doves and wrote messages of peace and kindness on them.
The group also talked about SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being and the things they need to keep their bodies and minds healthy. After the discussion, students went on and did a Thich Nhat Hanh Pebble Meditation while learning about mindfulness.
Using the lens of deforestation and impact on animal life through loss of habitat, Kindergarten students who looked at SDG 15 - Life on Land, developed empathy for the welfare of Earth's forests and the animals that depend on them for their survival.
Finally, the group learnt about SDG 12 - Responsible Production and Consumption. They discovered what happened with waste around the world, what they could do at home and in the community to minimize waste, what can be recycled at home and how people sort their trash?
SDG Design in Grade 4 Art Class
Grade 4 inquired into the principles of design in the SDG icons during SDG Week. They then created new logo designs of their own to match an SDG.
New Hotline Becomes Lifeline for Hundreds of Young People
Over 350 young people experiencing a mental health crisis have been helped thanks to an initiative started by one UNIS Hanoi student. Established almost three months ago, the BlueBlue Hotline aims to connect Vietnamese teenagers and young adults with accredited Vietnamese psychologists for free and by phone or text.
The brainchild behind the service is UNIS Hanoi student, Binh Vu. Inspired by her own mental health journey Binh established an affordable, accessible service to everyday young people in Vietnam.
She said, “During COVID-19, I realised my mental health was getting pretty bad and as I considered my own circumstances, it made me realise that there would be other people who’d also benefit from an affordable service but one that’s tailored to meet the needs of young Vietnamese people.”
Binh didn’t wait too long to act! With the help of her parents and friends, Binh reached out to trained psychologists and created a team of 12 specialists who made themselves available to take calls 24 hours a day, seven days a week. As a free quality service, BlueBlue Hotline has proved exceptionally popular.
Binh commented, “It’s so touching to know that we’ve really helped people in their hour of need. I recall one of our callers reached out to a specialist at around two in the morning, expressing a desire to run away. She was overwhelmed with pressure and our specialist helped change her mind and supported her for a long period of time. We’ve also helped young people suffering from panic attacks, depression and feelings of suicide.”
The fledgling team’s fundraising efforts have enabled BlueBlue’s psychologists to be paid a nominal fee for their time. One institutional partner is UNIS Hanoi. Through the Impact Fund, UNIS Hanoi gave Binh and her co-founders - two fellow UNIS Hanoi students - Ayami Matsumura and Yoomee Shin, a grant in support of their work. With the assistance of UNIS Hanoi and other organisations, Binh and her team hope to expand their service even further.
She revealed, “When I turn 18 I plan to register the service as a NGO and rent an office. We also have plans to build an online learning course about mental health and will be partnering with High Schools in Hanoi to establish mental health clubs in their schools. Even though I’m planning to go to university after I graduate from UNIS Hanoi, I will continue to develop the BlueBlue Hotline.”
The BlueBlue Hotline is available to young Vietnamese people.
About the UNIS Impact Fund
The UNIS Impact Fund Project Grants are designed to support individuals or small groups with risk-taking, piloting, prototyping ideas or advocacy. Applications for grants are open all year and open to UNIS Hanoi community members.
Holiday Book Swap
To help Middle School students get ready for a relaxing Winter break, on December 18 during lunch time, the MS Sustainability Club and Library hosted a Book Swap where students were able to bring in their books from home to exchange with other students!
The event was a great success with over 40 students representing all MS grades coming to enjoy some hot cocoa and sweets before selecting a gently used book to enjoy over break.
Everyone left with a great book (or books) to cozy up and read over the two week break with a cup of tea/hot cocoa (we even had tea bags & chocolate for students to take home with their new book). Students were happy to see other students fall in love with the books they brought, and the Sustainability Club was thrilled to bring so many people together in supporting sustainable consumption & production, as well as take care of our community’s well-being!!
Being Well in Middle School
It’s 10am on Day 10 at UNIS Hanoi. The sports centre and covered court areas are filled with laughter, excitement and energy as the result of the Middle School Wellness programme. This is a great opportunity for middle schoolers to enjoy a variety of activities during 60 minutes ranging from sports (table tennis, dodgeball, badminton, volleyball), board games, to arts (dance, mindful colouring, music practicing).
The Wellness Programme happens once every two weeks during Middle School’s iBlock. 250 students in Grades 6-8 could choose to participate in one of the pursuits they are passionate about. Students can choose to do mindful colouring in one iBlock and join another activity in the next iBlock. This project also includes inter-house events happening every two sessions with participation from 80 students.
The programme was the brainchild of PHE Teacher Eoin Gibbons who wished to help students become more aware of their wellness and wellbeing. Mr Gibbons, together with the Middle School Counsellors, Grade Level Leaders and the Librarian developed an age-appropriate plan for the year in August. The programme was then rolled out in October after the Autumn Break and runs throughout the year with the support from all Homebase mentors.
This initiative is adored by Middle Schoolers, who shared the following:
“Wellness is fun and engaging and it’s a way that we can feel better.”
“I enjoy having fun and relieving stress from classes in Wellness.”
“I like that we can play with other grade levels, chill and take a break from homework.”
“Wellness is a fun and active way to end the week.”
Visit the Wellness Programme resources space on Libguide to discover wellness topics for all Grades 6-8 this year.
SDG Artworks for Operation Healthy Heart
Every year, the Elementary School art students participate in the Annual Art Auction to raise funds for the Operation Healthy Heart. The students explored the importance of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. They were then tasked with designing, developing and creating an interesting mixed-media composition which highlighted these goals.
All proceeds raised from the art auction will go to funding the heart surgeries of local Vietnamese children. These collaborative artworks intended to show that art and our actions can make a difference to the lives of others.
Additionally, Grades 4 and 5 took part in a global art exchange to send Artist Trading Cards to other schools and they took inspiration from the SDGs to spread these important messages.
Enjoy the artworks created by our 4th and 5th graders!
A New Experience For The Huong La Children
Huong La Centre is an orphanage for physically disabled and developmentally delayed children which is an hour away from UNIS Hanoi. The Huong La Centre is one of UNIS Hanoi’s service learning partners. We have a High School service-learning group supporting Huong La, who meets on a weekly basis during the school day.
Our Huong La service learning group visit the orphanage each year, and this year we wanted to provide an opportunity for the children at the Huong La Centre to experience a musical production at UNIS Hanoi. On December 7, 19 children from Huong La Centre came to UNIS Hanoi to watch the elementary school play Aristocats. This was an exciting experience for the children who really enjoyed the musical.
We would like to congratulate all of the elementary performers and crew for putting on a truly entertaining show and thank them for being so accommodating of our service learning group and the children of Huong La.
If you would like to support our service group, we will have a booth up at Spring Fair.
Minh van der Wielen and Audrey Hanson - G10 Huong La Service Learning Leaders
Operation Healthy Heart Doing Small Changes
On Friday, November 15, 2019 some members of the service group Operation Healthy Heart (OHH) along with Ms Amie Pollack representing Heart Vietnam, visited the 6 year old Lo Van Quyen at the Hanoi Heart Hospital.
Quyen was diagnosed with a ventricular septal defect in his heart in 2018. In May 2019, he was reconfirmed about his heart defect at a rural hospital in the Son La region and recommended to be admitted in a hospital for surgery as soon as possible because his life was threatened.
Thanks to OHH and Heart Vietnam, the surgery could happen and was a success. Quyen was released from the hospital on Monday, November 18. Now, he will be able to have a fully happy life back in his village.
OHH group is formed by young inspiring members in different grades, committed to helping sick and vulnerable children and families. This service group started by the graduated Linnea Niklasson, obtains the funds to sponsor the medical interventions with fundraising in different schools events and the Art Auction starting on December 2 is one of them.
OHH goal at the beginning of the school year was to sponsor the heart or pulmonar surgeries of three kids and so far we save one life.
We are very thankful for the support of the UNIS Hanoi community and we hope hope the community will keep supporting this group. OHH will keep working hard towards, the good health and well being of the most needed ones.
Operation Healthy Heart Service Learning Group