Service to the community and environment

OSC is committed to the values that are developed in our students through experience in service learning. Service Learning is part of the IB curriculum and part of the culture at the Overseas School of Colombo (OSC). Service is a requirement at all Grade levels where students recognise specific needs within the community, work with members of this community to plan appropriate responses to those needs, and act ethically to meet them. At OSC the curriculum provides ideas, opportunities, and the context for students to initiate service as action independently and the school provides a protected time for students to focus on service.

All students in the MYP and DP are expected to participate in projects organised by the school, or to participate in service outside school. In the MYP Grades 2-5, students are required to serve for one semester, while in the DP the commitment is yearlong. MYP1 students are introduced to the service programme through a quarter long commitment. We believe that student leadership is vital to initiate and plan each service project, regardless of student age, so opportunities for leadership are offered throughout.

OSC’s continued commitment to the following Service Learning projects is at the core of developing the knowledge and awareness, skills, and attitudes our students will need to provide ethical and meaningful service now and in the future. Students at OSC actively participate in the following fifteen service projects. Their goals and achievements are described here.

Care for Paws: We hope to fulfil our goal to help homeless dogs get adopted, fostered or sponsored by the OSC community and others. They have also regularly run awareness-raising campaigns focusing on animal rights. The group has run two successful sterilisation camps for local street dogs and is planning for the third.

Checkmates: Through chess, we strive to instil confidence and foresight in planning and strategy, which we hope will open new opportunities for our visiting students; especially for the girls, who are often under-represented in chess.

Gecko Inc.: By teaching swimming skills, we strive to build confidence in local school students who are not comfortable in water. We help them to be safe whenever they are with friends or family, playing in a river, or in a swimming pool. The students have initiated fundraisers to purchase swimsuits for the group with whom they work.

Gecko Network: We are a student-initiated service, aiming to support a variety of OSC events and activities throughout the year by broadcasting them across our community, using many forms of media. The students have created several Gecko News productions. The group has continued to train new members to provide technical and photographic support at school functions and to the other service programmes.

Girls for Girls: We continue to increase our connection to the local community by becoming mentors to young female survivors of abuse and by building a curriculum for a transitional centre for them under the Emerge Lanka Foundation.

Grade 6 Project: Roots and Shoots: In order to introduce Grade 6 students to Service Learning at OSC, they participate in a programme focused on the Roots and Shoots model linked to the curriculum through their studies in science.

Hope for Kids: We address and relieve the impact of cancer on not only the patient but their family also, by implementing a guidance and therapy programme for affected mothers at the Maharagama Cancer Hospital.

Housing and Habitat: We enhance the quality of life of local communities by building essential homes, facilities, and furniture for them, and by implementing creative solutions to address their energy needs.

OSC’s Room to Read: We are a new service, and our goal is to build libraries in the local community, making reading for pleasure and learning available to all, and spreading our passion for books. We are continuing our collaboration with Vidyawardene School, in School Lane, Pelawatte.

Peer Helpers: We provide emotional support as needed to our peers and other members of our community. Peer counsellors receive training in active listening skills as well as learn how to respond to signs of social/emotional distress. Peer Helpers are also working on developing videos and resources for incoming students to OSC.

RCCI: We help differently abled students to enhance their physical, mental, and social skills by giving them opportunities to interact with and be part of our culturally diverse community.

Recycling and Sustainability: Through “Train to Sustain”, we strive not only to train our members in investigating potential solutions for the ecological footprint of our school, but also to train the school community in how they may do their part to aid our service, their school and Colombo itself. Recycling is our role, and sustainability is our goal!

Reef Keepers: We lobby to reduce the use of plastic consumable products in the OSC community, sell reusable shopping bags, and have assisted the OSC canteen committee in purchasing reusable plates, cups and cutlery. We have been collecting plastic bags to be recycled into pencil cases and conducted beach clean ups.

SOS Village: By working with orphaned children, our service opens the minds of everyone involved. Through swimming and other interactive experiences, we create memories for a lifetime for them and for us. We break down language and social barriers, nurturing a safe environment for the children with whom we work.

Temple School: We collaborate to give young children from the local community fun, interactive experiences that they are unlikely to have the opportunity for in their daily lives.