Auction of Promises to End Slavery

Secondary students at Gubei Campus earned respect and creativity points for taking the initiative to raise awareness of human trafficking around the world with an “Auction of Promises” in April.

When Year 12 student Hui Hua learned about the continued practice of slavery and human trafficking around the world, she approached YCIS Shanghai teacher and Creativity, Action, Service (CAS) Co-ordinator Luke Watson to propose a fundraising event to raise awareness of the issue. Mr. Watson, who ensures that students in the International Baccalaureate (IB) stream have volunteer opportunities to meet their required community service hours for their IB diploma, connected her with business and economics teacher Nick Marsh. “There are a million different activities and fundraisers we can do, but instead of me telling them, they decide what they want to do,” says Mr. Watson. “I work with the students through the ideas and help make it happen. Because these are their ideas, they’ll spend extra time making posters and selling tickets to their friends. It’s good to empower them and let their ideas go wild.”

Mr. Watson’s decision to connect Hui Hua with Mr. Marsh was simple. “Nick has previous experience hosting an Auction of Promise where he last taught in the UK, and told me that he’d be interested in helping students meet their service hours with a similar event at YCIS Shanghai.  The idea of auctioning services like babysitting, teaching a cooking lesson, and being a student ‘servant’ for a school day indirectly tied in with Hui Hua’s concerns about slavery.”

The event’s success was defined not just by the total amount raised but also by the discussions it generated on the social issue of human trafficking. Having guided the students behind the scenes, Mr. Marsh is amazed by the results. “I think the event worked well due to student effort and the generosity of donors and sponsors from outside (our school community). The other main success was the publicity given to the reality of slavery around the world. Many teachers and students were talking about something they had not considered much in the past.”

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