Monthly Archives: April 2013

C&S (or CAS) Project ideas

Posted by Peter MUIR

Looking for some ideas for a C&S or CAS Project?  Check out these listed by US organising Facing the Future, or these ideas suggested for Global Youth Service Day

Beach Clean up related C&S Projects

Posted by Peter MUIR

Here at DC, participating in a beach clean up is not what we consider a C&S project (for more details on C&S Projects, please refer to the C&S Students Handbook).  Organising a beach clean up, on the other hand, would be considered a C&S Project.  Here are a few ideas of C&S Projects related to beach clean ups:

  • Create a 3-minute video of the issues relating to waste management in Hong Kong and post on Youtube
  • Make an infographic about waste in Hong Kong.
  • Submit a proposal to a DC Primary class teacher, informing that you would like to present a session to their class about waste reduction.  Plan this 15-minute session with activities and interesting facts, then present it to the class.
  • Create a comic book in Cantonese about the need to reduce the amount of waste we create.  The book could be put on display for people to read in the DC library.
  • Research about how much waste your family creates (a waste audit) and then develop an action plan to reduce this waste.  Implement this plan, and gauge how successful your plan was.

Green Week at DC

Posted by Peter MUIR

This week DC secondary students took to the North Plaza beach and worked incredibly hard to help clean up some very depressing waste washed up on the beach. A total of 58 large black garbage bags of waste was cleaned up – and what an incredible difference it made!  Unfortunately, there is still so much more to do, with waste washing up on the beach almost every single day. The students spent time listening to Tracey Read from ‘Plastic Free Seas’ talk about micro-plastics and the frightening impact these have on our environment.   A key point passed on to students was for them to think about their own behaviour and use of disposable products – trying to avoid their use so that they may not end up in land fill, or even worse, washed up on the beaches of Hong Kong.

Other Green Week activities included the DC Acts of Green photography competition; results will be announced next week by the DC Sustainability Committee. In addition DC celebrated Earth Day with a ‘Meat Free Monday’. In support of this the Year 10s served a vegetarian lunch to the primary staff on Thursday and talked about the environmental impacts of eating meat. The cafeteria also supported Green Week with ‘Throttle the Bottle’ week and a straw-free week.  A big effort made by everyone but for us to really start making a significant difference we need to remember that ‘EVERY DAY NEEDS TO BE EARTH DAY’.

Global Youth Service Day

Posted by Peter MUIR

The world’s young people are serving and celebrating as part of the 25th anniversary of Global Youth Service Day (GYSD) this weekend, April 26-28, 2013.  At least 1 million children, teens, and young adults in more than 100 countries across 6 continents will lead service or service-learning projects as well as events celebrating the good work youth are doing in their communities year-round.  As of April 24:

  • 2,307 Projects Registered on the GYSD Map
  • 51 U.S. States with Projects Registered
  • 103 Countries with Projects Registered
  • Top Countries: (1) Kyrgyzstan  (2) Canada  (3) Lebanon  (4) Russia   (5)  Tanzania

To take a look at important milestones from the 25 years of Global Youth Service day:

Project ideas:  these ideas are not just specific to GYSD – they can be done any time of the year!  And check out these tools designed to help with not only the implementation of GYSD projects, but type of service project.  DC students could use these for any CAS or C&S project!


DB Green tree planting

Posted by Peter MUIR

Here are the details for DB Green’s tree planting this Sunday….

The rainy season has definitely arrived and so it’s time to plant another 1000 trees in the conservation area! This is a wonderful project to return native trees to this once forested area and in doing so also improve the biodiversity of the local wildlife.

Directions: To find the conservation area you head up the road towards the golfcourse and turn right at the concrete road to the lookout. About 100m on your left is a couple of routes to get you to the conservation area. Look for bamboo stakes with coloured twine for the trees we’ve previously planted. We will try to put some kind of marker to get there but it is frequently removed by security so your best chance is to look out for happy diggers on the hill on your left. Failing being able to spot someone easily (sometimes we are on the other side of the hill), try calling John Horwood- our tree planting organiser on 9457 5548.

What to bring: Sturdy shoes (hiking boots are great or old sneakers as it gets quite muddy sometimes), plenty of water, insect repellent, sunscreen, snacks, friends (many hands really does make light work!) and, to prevent scratches, wear long trousers and shirts.

Time: Usually 10am to 4 pm or it may finish earlier if  trees taken up for the day are planted.

Even making it up for an hour or 2 is a great help.

Donating: Each tree costs $10 thanks to the generosity of Kadoorie Farms and covers the cost of the tree, bamboo, twine, equipment and transportation.

If you would like to donate to the cost of the trees you can transfer money to HSBC: 571 213511 001 or donate cash at the next flea market in June or beach cleanup on the 19 of May or give to John directly. 

Charity – A bandaid solution?

Posted by Peter MUIR

I am at times presented with student proposals for involvement in service that basically sees the student donating money to a charity.  While this approach is certainly not service, it also raises questions about charity and its place in our community?  Is charity sustainable?  How beneficial is donating money to a cause? Where does donated money go?  Is it fair for running costs of charity organisations to be above 30% – that is, at least 30% of money donated goes to the administrative costs, including salaries  (related to this latter point, check out the TED talk by activist and fundraiser Dan Pallotta, and do make sure you read the comment thread the talk has generated).

Esther Houghton, who assists in coordinating the efforts of some DC Diploma students in their CAS project working with the Kuok Foundation in Yat Tung, providd the following notes after attending a lecture by Dr. David Pang, the CEO of the Kuok Foundation.

It was a very inspiring talk, informing us of the vision of the Kuok Foundation and outlining the life-changing work they have been doing in China… David’s talk made clear distinctions between a charity, which gives money to the underprivileged and the Kuok Foundation which seeks not to just donate money to cure a problem but to look for and tackle the root causes of a problem. He talked about how helping others involved 3 aspects: Money, Time and Heart. Money he said was the easiest of the 3. The aspects that were the most difficult to donate were people who cared (Heart) and Time.

He talked about how essentially charity seeks to address the uneven distribution of opportunities and that the most sustainable kind of charity was that which involved changing the mind-sets of people, because there will always be people. Whilst money runs out, buildings and schools deteriorate and require maintenance, people will always remain. If we are able to teach people how to care for themselves and also how to care for others, we can change their mind-sets so that they are able to further help others, who are in turn able to change the mind-sets of even further people. This is truly sustainable charity.

Though fundraising can be a part of a DC student’s CAS or C&S efforts, students are encouraged to look at how they can donate their own time and heart to a good cause.

Survive 5 Facebook Challenge

Posted by Peter MUIR

World Vision have initiated a worthwhile challenge – why not get involved   And for those DC students doing the 40-hour famine, combining the famine with this activity could be considered a C&S Project.

Every day, 19,000 children die before reaching their 5th birthday because of preventable causes like malnutrition, pneumonia, diarrhea, and malaria. Sunday, 5th May (5/5) is Survive 5 Day – where advocates around the world will make noise about under-five child deaths, but we need your help!
Create a unique “Survive 5” Facebook timeline cover that shows why people should care about child mortality.
The top 5 designs will win and be featured by World Vision’s GLOBAL Child Health Now campaign to be used by advocates all around the world! These winners will also receive a gift certificate to Society 6, where World Vision Youth sells unique art inspired items!

Learn how to get started & download starter resources at the “Survive 5” Facebook Design Competition challenge page.


Posted by Peter MUIR

There are no natural disasters, only natural hazards – a disaster happens when such hazards affect a community that is ill-prepared to cope with its impacts.  This was a key message delivered to Year 10 students by guest speaker Martin Roeth, from the organization ShelterBox. According to Martin, the most important step in disaster mitigation is to build a community’s capacity to deal with the impacts of a hazard, and to have this preparation done well in advance.

ShelterBox slides DC April 2013

Shelterbox prepares to support communities in response to natural hazards by preparing their ‘big green boxes of humanitarian aid’ ready for rapid delivery to an affected area.  ShelterBox responds instantly to earthquakes, volcanoes, floods, hurricanes, cyclones and conflicts by delivering their boxes to provide emergency shelter and lifesaving supplies to families around the world who have been made homeless by these occurrences.

DC would like to set up a ShelterBox project group, and is inviting year 10 students to join.  Their aim will be to organise a ShelterBox awareness event before the end of this academic year.  For students who are interested in joining click here to sign up.

The Benefits of CAS and C&S

Posted by Peter MUIR

Year 11 DC student Boris Choy recently wrote an article highlighting the benefits of a sound CAS or C&S programme  – Why You Should Be Crazy For CAS

As we often discuss with our students at DC, doing things for others is certainly a positive outcome of CAS / C&S.  Additionally, and very important to consider in a school context, are the benefits that CAS / C&S provides to students.   In a nutshell, being involved in a well-planned CAS or C&S programme has the potential to provide the skills and knowledge that make students more employable, or make them better candidates for a university placement.  Indeed those students who apply for university scholarships are required to show what they have accomplished in their lives aside from their academic results.   A good CAS or C&S programme also develops the attributes of the IB Learner Profile, and makes students more well-rounded by having them challenge themselves by participating in activities that benefit the body, mind and soul.  I often say to our students, don’t look at CAS or C&S as a requirement, but look at it as an opportunity.

40 Hour Famine

Posted by Peter MUIR

From Thursday 25 April 2013, there will be a 40 Hour Famine hosted at DC, open to any secondary student over the age of 12 who wishes to participate. The aim of this event is to raise awareness about world hunger by going on a 40 hour fast. By participating in this event your child will experience a small glimpse of the hardships of starvation that nearly 1 billion people worldwide face everyday. It also promotes compassion by giving up something for the sake of others in need, providing an opportunity to help others in their global community.

Participants in the event will cease consuming any type of food from 5pm on Thursday 25 April until 9am on Saturday 27 April. The consumption of water, however, is still essential and volunteers are advised to drink as much water as possible during the event. Volunteers will be responsible for bringing their own water bottles to school, and these can be refilled at one of the many water fountains. Sugar, in the form of small sweets, will be provided to keep participants’ sugar levels up, but these are to be consumed at a minimum.

Those participating are also encouraged to find donors to sponsor them during the event. The funds raised will be donated to World Vision and help their plight against world hunger and breaking the poverty cycle. Attached is a sponsor form that students should use to acquire sponsors. Please return the sponsor form with the money (cash) to the 40 Hour Famine information booths, which will be in the main foyer on the Monday after the event.

To enhance the experience, students in Years 10-12 who are participating in the fast have the option to join an overnight stay at the school, from 3.15pm Friday 26 April until 9am the following morning. The overnight stay will be held in the school gym, as it offers the participants an uncomfortable environment to fast in, aiming to further develop empathy of those around the world who live in poverty. This is also to ensure that participants will not break the fast, and allows participants to fast communally, teachers and students alike.

Students who are keen to take part in either the famine or the overnight stay will need to obtain the relevant permission forms from the school office.