International pupils have been volunteering in their home countries in response to the COVID pandemic by reaching out to those in need and by working for the Red Cross.
When the school dispersed in late March, pupils returned home to a much-altered way of living and, for some, this became an opportunity to get involved and to give their time.
In Thailand, siblings Great and Grand were busy in their home city of Bangkok. They have been working with the Thai Red Cross community for a while now.
“My mother is one of the organisers of Patum Thani province's Red Cross community”, said Great, “so, in the past, I have had many opportunities to go with her to help people suffering from economic difficulties, disasters and disease. During the outbreak of Covid-19, my brother and I have helped the Red Cross community make hand sanitizers and we have packed and helped to distribute much needed facemasks.
“I also work with the Thai Red Cross Youth Volunteers, where people from the age of 15-30 do community service at public places like The Royal Kitchen where we pack food and necessities for those who are affected by the economic difficulties during the Covid-19 outbreak. We usually start work at 7am and work until 3pm. Although we have to stand in the heat (around 40c) I am overwhelmed when people smile and are grateful for our hard work. Volunteering has given me many opportunities to help others and to realise what joy this can bring".
Ada, from Belgrade, worked with many humanitarian organisations before attending Oswestry School, including the United Nations Association of Serbia, Helsinki Committee for Human Rights, Youth Initiative for Human Rights and the Interact Club. The COVID pandemic was an opportunity for Ada do whatever she could.
“I did not like the feeling of being locked in the house knowing that there are people suffering from a global pandemic and thinking that there is nothing I can do to help” said Ada, “so, I have become part of UNICEF's campaign called Volunteers On The Network. I have been sharing verified information about COVID-19 and getting responses from people who are struggling at this difficult time. I listen, give some advice and offer specialist help and I hope this has made people feel better.
“During this time of uncertainty, some of us might feel lost, stressed or scared, and that is why we have to stay together, support and help each other, even while we are all apart. There are opportunities everywhere around us.”