Meanwhile at UNIS Hanoi
Our Global Alumni Notes
Felice Bakker (Class of 2006) wrote to share about her brand of sustainable jewelry and accessory.
"I am the founder of Saya by Felice, a sustainable jewelry and accessory brand based out of Bali. After 5 years with the United Nations in Myanmar and Indonesia, I decided I needed a change - an outlet for my creativity. I love doodling and spending time in jewelry shops and wanted to combine this with my passion for sustainability. I was living in Jakarta at the time and was surrounded by beautiful colourful batik fabrics (every Friday Indonesians working in government offices wear batik). The pieces use batik scraps, collected from various tailors in Jakarta, and are made by hand. Each piece is unique as we only have a small amount of fabric from each pattern. We are currently in the process of developing products for men too, so stay tuned."
Follow Saya by Felice on Instagram to see Felice's creations.
April Ngo (Class of 2006) is the founder of citizenobsessed.com, an online media platform focused on ideological diversity and one-on-one interviews with inspiring minds. Most recently, April ran an interview with Farhana von Mitzlaff, the woman behind Meena, the charity which was set up to help the victims of the Rana Plaza disaster in Bangladesh in 2013.
April shared, "I started citizenobsessed.com in 2018 because I noticed a huge disconnection between discussion and tolerance. There wasn't a platform where diversity in thought was encouraged. It always seems like you had to belong to one side or another to have your views validated, and something felt distinctly off with that concept."
Currently citizenobsessed.com is a small team of five with members based in the UK and the US. April's goal going forward is to expand the platform into a global multi-media production company. She has stated that "we (citizenobsessed.com) don't pander to culture, demographic groups, socioeconomic status, race or gender. As a great man once said, 'while we don't promise equal outcome, we strive to deliver equal opportunity.' Everyone with a great appetite for thought and writing is welcome as long as they're transparent about having a bias and ready to be challenged on it."
Hauke Schmidt (Class of 2014) will be heading to Northern Ireland in June 2020 to complete the BT (British Telecom) Graduate Scheme's Gradventure 2020 challenge, which includes a 40ft climbing wall, a 30ft unharnessed 'ultimate leap of faith' and a 5km mud run, in support for UNICEF.
Hauke recently joined BT's Digital Engineering Graduate programme which offers four rotations in different digital teams over the course of 2 years. Hauke's first rotation is in front-end development for the EE website.
Gradventure is an annual programme created and completed by graduates in the BT Graduate Scheme to fundraise for charitable causes. This year Hauke and other Gradventure 2020 Challengers set the ambitious goal of raising £60,000 to support UNICEF. Click here to follow and support Hauke.
Jian Hao Tan (Class of 2011) shared about the birth of his baby daughter: "Last month, my wife, Debbie gave birth to our first baby. Her name is Starley Tan. I'm really happy to have a girl because I've always wanted to have a daughter. I hope everyone in UNIS is doing great. I would love to visit soon as UNIS has been such a big part of my life and majorly shaped who I am today."
Annie Gainsborough (Class of 2012) signed up to complete a 4km swim on Sunday 28th September in a lake in Exmoor, South West England in aid of Children's Hospice South West (CHSW).
Having loved and done swimming occasionally throughout her life, Annie has taken to Wild Swimming in England from last October and now swims roughly once a week with friends in reservoirs, lakes and rivers near her home in Sheffield. "Yes, the UK Autumn as the water gets slowly and steadily colder before reaching icy lows February!" Annie said. "During our first winter (with the water under 5ºC!) we'd sometimes only stay in for a few minutes, but by spring (10-15ºC) we'd built up tolerance and strength and started swimming longer distances. I usually swim in a wetsuit, but my friends swim "skins", the colloquial term for swimming without neoprene. Swimming is something I do to get out into nature and away from everyday life."
Coming from an outdoors-y family, Annie will be completing this challenge alongside her mother Mary Gainsborough (Alumni Parent) in aid of Children's Hospice South West (CHSW), where Mary works as a doctor. Annie shared: "I've worked in an adult hospice previously, as well as volunteering for CHSW as a child, so it is a cause close to my heart." If you want to support Annie's swim and donate to Children's Hospice South West to help them provide end of life care, as well as a place of sanctuary and fun, for more than 500 families across South West England, you can do so here.
Annie is working for a small business called Gradconsult, supporting student employability and University careers services across the UK (and around the world!) as well as working with employers to recruit, train and develop graduates.
Louisa de Wet (Class of 2010) has been recognised for her work by visiting Assistant UN Secretary General, Anita Bhatia, during a high-level delegation mission in Uganda.
Louisa works as a Monitoring and Evaluation officer at UN Women, the UN agency dedicated to gender equality and women's empowerment at a global level. With a strong academic background and penchant for research, Louisa's primary role is to monitor and assess the impact and results of UN Women's work across five priority areas in Uganda.
"The UN does incredible work across the world, and a lot of my commitment to the organisation comes from UNIS Hanoi's focus on sustainability, life-long learning and the sense of community that the school fosters". Louisa describes her time at UNIS Hanoi with fond recollection – "I was actively involved in extracurricular activities like Habitat for Humanity, which allowed me to work alongside and together with local communities in meaningful and impactful ways".
Her passion for gender issues and women's rights grew from experiencing and witnessing first-hand how women are consistently and systematically oppressed across the world, irrespective of culture, demographic group, socioeconomic status or geographic locality. "No country in the world has accomplished gender equality, and I have made it my mission and calling in life to address the structural and social inequalities that prevent women and girls from equal opportunities".
Louisa has a bachelor's in International Relations from Southampton University (UK) and a master's degree in Development Studies from Lund University in Sweden.
Eunji (Scarlett) Park (Class of 2013) was selected as a Scholarship recipient for the European Alpbach Forum in Austria as a Ban Ki-moon Global Citizen's Scholar. The scholarships are provided to individuals who were working on community-level projects in alignment with the SDGs.
In 2017 Eunji structured a project with Asian Development Bank to provide clean drinking water by utilizing rainwater harvesting methods for societies with limited accessibility to tap water in Marinig, Laguna, Philippines (SDG 6: Clean water and sanitation). Eunji shared: "I was working in a community where '25 households gathered $400 in 5 years to install 4 water pumps'. I still cannot forget these words and promised myself to go back to these locals with solutions for better drinking water."
Eunji first met Ban Ki-moon when he came to visit UNIS Hanoi in 2010. Ban Ki-moon's speech at UNIS Hanoi encouraged her to follow interest in international affairs. At the European Alpbach Forum, as a Ban Ki-Moon Global Citizen Scholar, Eunji finally had the chance to tell Ban Ki-Moon in person about her adventure and how he inspired her passion.
Eunji is pursuing a Master's Degree in 'Environment and Development' at the London School of Economics and Political Science. She is also planning to scale her project by coordinating with relevant organizations and ultimately launch the project by 2020 after undergoing consultation and field research. Eunji wishes to connect with Alumni who has expertise in water or is currently residing in the Philippines.
Ruby Davies (Class of 2013) started the blog Endo and me, sis in order to raise awareness for endometriosis and the effects it can have on people's lives. Endometriosis is a condition where endometriotic tissue (very similar to the cells forming the uterine/womb lining) is located elsewhere in the body causing tenderness, extreme pain during the monthly period and other long-term effects. Endometriosis affects 1 in 10 women worldwide (that's over 176,000,000!) and is currently incurable. However there are lifestyle and medical adjustments that can help lessen its impact on life.
Having been diagnosed with endometriosis in 2014, in the blog posts, Ruby discusses her experiences with endometriosis, as well as the tips and tricks adopted after over 10+ years living with the condition. Ruby shared: "I find the blog therapeutic as it also holds me accountable for my own holistic treatment plan - I have to take care of myself in order to practice what I preach. The blog has followings on Facebook and Instagram, with over 1,500+ supporters. Through the blog itself, as well as the social media platforms, I have already made friends with fellow endometriosis warriors across the world. The support from them, as well as my friends and family has been truly overwhelming. I cannot wait to see where things go from here!"
Ruby graduated from the University of Dundee in 2017 and from the University of Edinburgh this last May and is currently a trainee lawyer at Dentons, the world's largest law firm.
Duy Nguyen (Class of 2006) started the page Closer to Earth as an initiative to share actionable steps that everyone could take to make a positive impact on our planet, whether it's going zero waste, ideas/ works that turned single used wastes into useful items or projects.
Duy shared, "I really believe that one of the best ways to help raise awareness is that we just have to start with ourselves. We run an e-commerce business selling children's products, and it really bothered me seeing the amount of packaging waste that would accumulate over time. Since we already have an audience of thousands of customers and growing, I thought there's no better way to spread the words through our products. Starting October 2019, we will start to replace our current packaging to using the reusable pouch for packaging and D2W biodegradable mailer bags and will continue to find ways to address the problem."
Sofia and Erik Cunelius (Alumni Faculty/Staff) found out that Linnea Niklasson (Class of 2019) was coming back to Sweden after graduating in May 2019 and organized a mini reunion in their home in Stockholm. Sofia was Linnea's Swedish teacher at UNIS Hanoi in Grade 6 and 7 and her husband Erik Cunelius was the soccer coach during this period. Linnea got to meet Sofia and Erik's two new family members while talking memories. Sofia is working at an IB school in Stockholm.