Tuesday, November 19, 2013

ISKL's Response to Typhoon Haiyan

From rescue operations to in-kind assistance, helping those in need is a difficult task, especially when the event is of such magnitude as Typhoon Haiyan that hit the Philippines on November 8th. As of the writing of this article close to 4,000 people have lost their lives and thousands remain displaced and homeless. We can only imagine the challenges ahead for those affected.

At ISKL the event hit close to home. A number of our community members are from the Philippines and a immediate call to action is natural and necessary. The PTA's response was nearly immediate. In a quick and concerted effort to support the typhoon victims the PTA communicated with the Embassy of the Philippines and several NGOs involved in rescue and support operations. The PTA then coordinated with our Head of School, the Sustainability & Service Learning Coordinator, the HS Community Service Coordinator, the Student Councils and the Red Hats to establish quick action. Within a few days there was a plan shared with our entire community. There are currently three main ways to support the relief efforts through ISKL:
  • By making a monetary donation to the Panther Store (designated for Philippine Disaster Relief) which will be forwared to the Philippine Red Cross at the end of the month;
  • By placing non-perishable food and/or health-related items (from the list provided by the PTA) to boxes already being filled on both campuses, or
  • By sponsoring the shipment of a box by filling out the form here.
Please consider giving generously if you have not already done so, and thank you so much to those who have already helped in any way. The silver lining in a crisis like this, if there is one, is the growth in the sense of community - in this case the global community - that inevitably takes place with something of this scale. At ISKL we have shown time and time again, that we are willing to support those in need and this is no exception.  

On a related note - and highlighting the interconnectedness of our human and natural future - as the on-going discussions about the human impact on climate change continue the Philippine government is attending the Climate Change Conference in Warsaw this week, the latest country to demand global action on climate change.   It gives credence to the thought that, in addition to our concern for human life in emergency circumstances, which is completely appropriate and critically important, we must likewise move quickly and decisively with regard to our daily actions, consumption patterns and expectations of our governments, business environment, our communities and ourselves.
Thank you for all that you do, for this emergency and for our collective future. 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Melawati Going Trash Free on Fridays

About a month ago I wrote about the Trash Free Fridays initiative at Prep Senior. Since then I've been approached by a number of teachers and reminded that other classes are doing it too. The Prep Reception and Prep Junior classes have been doing something along these lines for years with parents asked to consider the snacks they send along with their children. Students who have gone through our program for the past three years (when the Prep Seniors started the initiative) have experienced it as well. So as of November 15th we're piloting a Trash Free Fridays across Melawati and seeing how it goes.

This has farther reaching effects than one might suspect, however, as there is a need for total community buy-in to ensure success. Students and teachers, of course, are on the front line, but this also affects operations (most notably the cafeteria) and home prepared lunches as well. which is where parents come in. 

Here's a quick guide for parents of Melawati children:
  • Try to pack lunches that are healthy and natural 
  • Try to purchase food that is in its natural state rather than something in a package (the idea is not to take it out of its package and transfer it to a tupperware container, but to avoid packaging altogether)
  • Spend time with your son/daughter in making the food. Apart from the positive interaction it provides it's also a great opportunity to talk about nutrition and positive eating choices!
Certainly there is a new level of thinking that needs to take place regarding purchasing and preparation, particularly for those of us whose shopping bags are stuffed with single service packages. But research clearly indicates that sustainable and healthy choices are nothing but beneficial for the development of our children. Proper nutrition, healthy discussions and hands-on interaction with healthy food are all part of far-reaching nutrition education and that correlates to positive nutritional choices as children grow. If one adds the environmental benefits of less waste-to-landfill it's hard not to call it a win-win situation. 

We hope you'll join us in celebrating this through your participation, choices and conversations with your children and family. After all, we're all in this together!