A group of students at South Saigon International School wanted to make a difference in their community. Read their story below!
Compliments of Celine and the EcoSSIStem Team!
I’m an 11th-grade student currently studying at Saigon South International School in HCMC, Vietnam. Recently, one of my teachers forwarded me an email about resources for environmental action in Asia and I thought it might be helpful to share an important project that I lead last year.
Last year, when I became the president of my school’s Global Issues Network Club, I understood exactly why I wanted this role — to focus on my school’s environmental impact where it seemed there was so much apathy and inaction. So when I stepped up, I had us jump straight into our project for the year: composting.
For months, we planned and held informational sessions with the help of a local NGO — Gaia Nature Conservation — for ourselves and administrators in order to tackle this project. From there, we wrote up a full proposal and got it approved for actual construction.
After that, we began to build the compost tumblers by up-cycling used oil drums and inviting teachers and staff members to join in the construction, spreading awareness about the project in the process.
After the bins were finished, we held training sessions for ourselves, the gardening staff, and the catering staff to develop procedures for building and maintaining the compost.
Things were definitely very rocky and hectic in the first few weeks because we were asking for additional work from the staff and our club members, but I definitely learned that well-built systems take time and patience to grow, and mistakes will be made!
We started our first batch of compost the week before Earth Week, and then presented our work in front of the entire high school in an Earth Day assembly that we also hosted.
Now, I’ve transitioned the club into becoming a dedicated environmental club called EcoSSIStem (my school being SSIS). This year, we plan to solidify the compost system to process the majority of organic waste in our school as well as other projects like reducing single use plastics. As a small student-led club in a school with so much waste, I am so proud of the impact we’re making to our school as a whole and really would like to share our work!