18 year old International Baccalaureate student’s MYP personal project becomes charity with NGO status

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Saloni More, an International Baccalaureate (IB) alumna who studied at the KIS International School in Bangkok, has received NGO status for her charity, the Mahim Aboli Foundation, which she established as part of her IB Middle Years Programme (MYP) personal project, together with her sister Saniya, another IB alumna.

The Mahim Aboli Foundation helps underprivileged children in Mumbai, India, access healthcare, dental care, nutritious meals and educational resources. The Foundation was established by Saloni in 2016 following her annual visit to her mother’s hometown Mahim, 100 km north of Mumbai, India. During her travels, Saloni became aware that Temki Paada, a local government-run school, didn’t have access to the same resources or opportunities she was used to in her learning environment, and, recognising the opportunity to help the community, she established the Mahim Aboli Foundation.

During the MYP, students are required to complete a personal project - a long-term project designed as an independent learning experience of approximately 25 hours. The personal project encourages students to practise and strengthen their approaches to learning (ATL) skills, connect classroom learning engagements with personal experience, and develop their own interests for lifelong learning. Students must identify a global context for their MYP projects to establish their relevance and significance.

Like with Saloni’s project, the MYP personal project does not necessarily finish in the classroom. Three years on, the Mahim Aboli Foundation now works with three government-run schools in the Mahim area - Temki Paada, Dasgao and Tal Paada.

Saloni comments: “My sister and I started the Mahim Aboli Foundation in 2016 with the initial goal of supporting schools by providing them with clothes, books, and games. But, after interacting with children from schools in the area, we realized they needed much more than school supplies. The children were very shy, and it was clear they needed some sort of reassurance that they were accepted for who they were and where they came from. For this to happen, we felt they needed to be proud of their roots and know the world beyond their community. We began planning campaigns to give the children this exposure, while also encouraging them to value their culture. This month, we are taking the third and fourth-graders from the schools to the Nehru Planetarium and Aquarium in Mumbai.”

As well as helping students to improve their confidence, issues such as health, hygiene and malnutrition are some of the big concerns the Mahim Aboli Foundation is working to address.

Saloni explains: “Recently we organised a health camp and a science camp for 100 students across the three schools. In future, we would like to run the health camp annually, during which students from the three schools will be able to access medical and dental care. We have plans for a separate dental camp, exclusively for all the first-graders in the schools, where we will give them necessary dental treatment (such as fillings) and educate them about maintaining good oral hygiene. We want to make this a yearly event so that after a few years, we will reach a point where all the students in the school are equipped to practice good oral hygiene”.

Saloni completed the IB Diploma Programme (DP) at KIS International School in Bangkok earlier this year, and is now studying medicine at the University of Edinburgh, alongside her management of the charity. Saloni has stated that ‘balanced’ is the IB Learner Profile attribute that best summarises her attitude towards the charity’s projects: “In this instance, being balanced is about keeping your emotions in check; making sure that my ambition didn’t outweigh my compassion; and that I could keep my mind in a state of equilibrium while dealing with schoolwork and organising projects.”

For more information on the Mahim Aboli Foundation please visit: https://www.abolifoundation.org/

For more information about the IB and its programmes please visit: www.ibo.org