Action & Philanthropy
The community service programme is part of both the MYP and the IB DP curriculum and requires students to take an active part in the communities in which they live. The emphasis is on developing community awareness and concerns and acquiring the skills to make an effective contribution to society.
This enables students to enhance their personal and interpersonal development through experiential learning. At the same time, it provides an important counterbalance to the pressures of the rest of the academic programme.
A good community service programme should be both challenging, enjoyable, and a personal journey of self-discovery. Each individual student has a different starting point, and therefore different goals and needs, and for many their activities include experiences that are profound and life changing.
Please see below our Comunity Response regarding Action and Service.
While dozens of charities have been supported over the years through the students' community and service projects, a few have garnered significant financial backing from VIS, including:
In 1991 Lucy Kurien was working in Bombay as a social worker. One evening she rejected a pregnant woman asking for help. That very night, the husband of the woman, in a drunken rage, set her on fire. She died and with her the seven month old fetus. It was then, that she decided she had to create a home for abused and traumatized women and their children.
Today MAHER (meaning “Mother ́s Home” in Marathi) is aNGO that has gone on to help more than 1,700 women and 1,600 children, while developing a model of compassion and empowerment to help uplift impoverished villages and slums.
It is VIS' flagship charity project, which we have been supporting since 2004. Over 200,000 euros has been raised and three homes for children have been built with our steady support.
We are proud to say that our efforts have given 80 children in India an education and a new, dignified life. For more information, please see www.maherashram.org. You can also read about our alumnis Jenny Draxlbauer's visit to Maher and what she has experienced herself.
Each year the primary school students collect food, clothing, shoes, toys, school supplies, and toiletries to donate to Project Centipede, which personally distributes the gifts just before the December holidays to the children and their caregivers in Romania, India, Hungary, Ukraine and Austria. For more information, go to www.centipede-vienna.org.
Students for Students is an organisation that raises money for students attending the Hill Preparatory School in Uganda, which specialises in integrating disabled children with non-disabled children. VIS students ask sponsors to donate 10 euros per month or just give a donation to support the students in need. In 2013, our students raised enough money to fund the entire year tuition for two children.
This unique library opened in September 2015 to provide books in over 40 languages to the diverse population of migrant and refugee families in Vienna. The library is located in the 15th district and is becoming a hub where students can engage in literacy-based learning in their home languages. The VIS community has been actively involved since the library’s inception; firstly by collecting thousands of books during the CIS-sponsored ‘Turn the Page Challenge’ book drive; secondly, by undertaking the demanding task of sorting and cataloguing the books; and, currently, by running a weekly Mentor Reading Programme with students from public schools.
For more info: www.whoiam.at.