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    Successful World Classroom Eco-Project Recognised By European Commission

    School News

    16 Mar, 2017

    10 : 00

    • The World Classroom programme offered at YCIS aims to extend students’ learning beyond the confines of the school campus and allow them to gain greater experience in a diverse range of countries across the globe. Children are given the opportunity to broaden their cross-cultural experiences and learn first-hand, through practical experience, as they travel to new and exciting places being part of a YCIS student team. The programme not only increases awareness of different cultures but also allows students to develop an appreciation for those cultures from another perspective.

      Students who participate in these fantastic trips across the world are set on a path to becoming global citizens. They are ideally placed to live and work in our ever-changing, and culturally diverse communities.

      Students from Year 7 to 9 are given a choice of destinations from which to choose for their World Classroom experience. Past destinations have included:

      • Kennedy Space Centre USA
      • Yellowstone National Park
      • Barcelona
      • Sri Lanka
      • India

      An integral element of the World Classroom experience is that of community service. Yew Chung students get to meet with local students and are encouraged to participate in community service projects. This allows students to develop social awareness and the opportunity to give back to the community.

      The School was notified recently, that a project in Bulgaria that Yew Chung students participated in (back in 2011!) was presented in front of the European Commission at the request of WWF. As one of Bulgaria’s most successful eco-projects, The Zmeeva Dupka Eco Trail was ranked in the top 15 across Europe. It is great to hear that a project which Yew Chung students were so involved in became so successful!

      The Back Story:

      During May 2011, a group of students participating in Yew Chung’s ‘World Classroom’ set off on an adventure to Bulgaria. Whilst in Tryavna, the students became involved in the reconstruction of an eco-path, which when finished would allow tourists and locals to safely explore surrounding nature and discover fascinating ecosystems around. Little did they know, the impact they would have…

      Before departing for Bulgaria, YCIS got in touch with a representative in Bulgaria, asking for ideas on how to play their part in giving back to the community. The Bulgarian representative mentioned the SOS Children’s Village, an international organization that works towards protecting the interests and rights of children in need.

      Behind this particular Children’s Village in Tryavna was a muddy stream with a crumbling bridge, which was seriously in need of repair. Inspired, the YCIS Secondary students worked alongside the children from the SOS Children’s Village and helped to reconstruct the bridge and part of the eco-trail, Zmeeva Dupka (Bulgarian for Dragon’s Holt). This allowed not only the children staying in this facility to visit the nature trail, but members of the general public too!

      Whilst in Hong Kong, students raised money at school by selling coffee and holding bake sales for their fellow classmates and teachers. Through their selfless fundraising efforts, they were able to contribute to the costs of the reconstruction of the path and the dangerous bridge.

      Situated in the region of a Natura 2000 site (an area aimed at protecting Europe’s most endangered biodiversity), the eco trail Zmeeva Dupka is one of Bulgaria’s most popular nature paths, which both international visitors and locals love to visit. Before Yew Chung’s involvement in the project, this protected area was visited only rarely and suffered from a certain amount of misuse. Thanks to all of the children involved in the project people are able to safely and easily follow this trail down towards the Zmeeva Dupka (Dragon’s Holt) cave, popular in Bulgarian legend.

      An Update:

      Years later it is often difficult to measure the impact community service actions have had on the community they served. It is heartwarming to note that previous YCIS students have had a significant, positive impact on the area they visited and have made an invaluable contribution to the community, which is still recognized to this day. The positive feedback on a project that was started so long ago is great to hear.

      This is such an encouraging message for future World Classroom participants who may struggle to see that their contribution really can impact the communities they visit. They can now see just how important it is to lend a helping hand wherever they go.

      Well done to all those involved!