From Ideas to Impact!

Enjoy this third instalment in our 6-week story series, taking a deeper dive into the impact created through our community’s philanthropy, celebrated in our 10 Year report this month.

A Solar School with its own Botanical Garden and Sustainability Centre was the vision set by our students passionate for our community to support the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. 

And this year, thanks to the community’s support for the UNIS Impact Fund with donations of more than $120,000, their dream is becoming reality.

This year, we have already started to generate clean electricity with our pilot solar project, generously donated by SEV Solar, a local company inspired by our students’ passion for learning (pictured above). And due for completion before the end of the year, will be solar panels covering 445m2 (covering 2 of our 10 buildings) with a 111kWp capacity system producing clean energy every day for the UNIS grid. 

The Impact Fund solar project and the Sustainability Centre, already in action recycling our community’s plastic, were joint projects with the School’s Sustainability Committee and an important part of our new Strategic Plan placing students at the centre.

It is our students that launched the projects and they will also be the ones leading community action empowered by these new resources.

When we started our UNIS Impact Fund more than two years ago in support of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the Board of Directors decided to hand over the goal making to our students and community, and more than 1200 votes were registered for our Solar and Botanical Garden flagship projects.

Who better to choose the goals for our Impact Fund Philanthropy than our student generation? Our young people driving change was the theme at the UN’s Climate Summit COP26 in Glasgow and our UNIS Impact Fund seeks to empower exactly that. At UNIS we leverage our identity as one of only two UN international schools to engage our students in creating real world solutions to real world problems.

Last year, our students worked with others from International Schools in Hanoi to present the urgent need for climate action directly to UN Under Secretary General, Fabrizio Hochschild, who joined the students in a live session to hear their bold messages and take them to the UN’s General Assembly. And of course, when our students articulate what they need to be successful, our UNIS community listens and responds. Thanks to donations from parents, faculty, staff and alumni the two Impact Fund projects are now operational with the next phases planned.

We are already well on track to become one of the first schools in the region operating with clean energy from solar and with our ongoing Impact Fund campaign, we hope to both role model and inspire other schools to make this commitment.

In addition, our Botanical Garden with its Green Learning Zone for planting and experimentation, the Sustainability Centre and the planned Garden of Philanthropy celebrating Vietnamese indigenous plants, ensures the School has a hub for its sustainability ambitions.

The work empowered by philanthropy has become so embedded into the School that what began as Impact Fund initiatives have been adopted by the School as part of its long-term sustainability strategy. 

Did You Know?

  • 3.18 tons of carbon have been offset from our pilot project to date (March 4, 2022)
  • 2,052 lives have been impacted by the Impact Fund Grants project which runs in parallel to the Solar and Botanical Garden projects. Grants are available to students for smaller projects supporting innovation, advocacy and piloting a broad range of ideas and passion projects.
  • A cross-community Impact Fund Committee directs and oversees the UNIS Impact Fund and is made up of students, teachers, staff, parents with alumni and Board members too.
  • Find out more at:

Over the last 10 years, since the School formalised its Institutional Philanthropy Programmes, together our community has donated more than $1.25 Million and impacted the lives of more than 21,500 people through its six different programmes!

Please check out our Impact Philanthropy 10 Year Report to explore more impact stories and outstanding project success that our community has made happen! Together.