Vietnam mission for Bahraini school team
  • | Gulf Daily News | December 11, 2009 09:04 PM

Students at the Abdulrahman Kanoo International School (ARKIS) will be embarking on a labour of love when they renovate two needy schools in Vietnam during a 10-day community service trip.

The 47 students and six supervisors are taking part in the school's third annual Creativity, Action and Service (CAS) trip.

They will be leaving for Vietnam tonight and return on December 21.

The students, aged 14 to 18, will be renovating a special needs school in Hanoi and a friendship village school in Sapa.

They will also be distributing new clothes, toys and stationery to the two schools and the villages they will visit.

The items were collected over the last two weeks under the "Fill a Bag with Love" campaign.

School university adviser and overseas trip co-ordinator Hamza Mahoney said that the administration and the students had organised everything for the trip and had raised money to cover travel expenses, materials and equipment for the playground and classrooms.

"During the trip the students get hands on - everything is done by them," Mr Mahoney told the GDN.

"We also have supervisors from our school and Vietnam who show them how to paint, plaster and build tables and chairs.

"When our students see Vietnamese students their own age who don't have anything but are so concerned about getting an education it makes them realise how privileged they are.

"It's a good learning experience for our students and takes them out of their comfort zones."

School CAS co-ordinator Fatima Al Khawaja explained that the trips were joint initiatives between students, parents, staff and the community.

She said staff and parents assisted in the fundraisers and helped students in organisation and participation.

Many local and global companies provide sponsorship to students and to the programme, which contributes to the goals and objectives of the trips, she added.

"We aim in these trips, not only to benefit the host school, but also to help in the development of our students into empathetic, proactive, critical thinkers who think of themselves as an integral part of their local, national and international family," said Ms Al Khawaja.

"The students experience, document, reflect and learn as a result."

tion to CAS trips, the school worked with local orphanages, old people's homes, local charities and civil society in joint projects.

"We try to promote community service as a culture in our school and teach our kids that when you give, what you get back in compassion and self fulfilment is one of the most rewarding and valuable of all human feelings," she said.

More than 25 sponsors from Bahrain are supporting the event, including Cathay Pacific, which has donated 300kg of free excess baggage.