A group of Year 13 students at Senior School Voorschoten organised the collection of 500 filled shoeboxes from the British School in the Netherlands, to be donated to children in need across the world.

Morgan, Paula, Leda and Sophie with the shoeboxes at SSL.

One of the GAiN (Global Aid Network) organisation’s many projects, Shoenendoosactie is a charity that has been donating beautifully decorated and filled boxes to children in need for the last 28 years. These boxes have reached children in the following countries; Togo, Sierra Leone, Romania, Moldova, Serbia, Albania, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Ukraine and refugee camps in Greece. These shoeboxes are filled with essential items, school supplies, and toys for boys and girls ranging from 2-14 years old.

As International Baccalaureate students at the British School in the Netherlands, we had the remarkable opportunity to initiate a student-led CAS project, which encompassed the following strands: Creativity, Activity and Service. Our inspiration for launching a shoebox charity project across BSN was rooted in the United Nation’s third sustainable development goal, which “ensures healthy lives and promotes well-being for all at all ages”, as well as our memorable experiences with a similar project when we were younger.

In the organisation of our project, effective communication and efficiency were essential, as this was the first project to run on an extensive scale across all four BSN campuses. One of the first things we did was create an interactive video that was suitable for younger students in the junior schools. Moreover, we collectively invested time and effort into creating presentations and posters for different campuses. This commitment extended to tasks such as distributing the leaflets and transporting the boxes. One of our highlights in the organisation of this project was the interactions with the younger students, both through assemblies and presentations. Talking to them individually and encouraging them to partake in our initiative was an engaging and enriching experience for everyone.

Shoenendoosactie from the BSN

Following our dedicated efforts to present and promote this project across the BSN, it was very rewarding to see stacks of boxes beginning to form at the schools’ collection points. At SSV, we watched in delight as the number of boxes doubled each day. Additionally, we were given the opportunity to present the project on ‘Family Friday’, at the Junior School in Vlaskamp, which was a memorable experience. Witnessing the widespread enthusiasm for this project across the campuses felt very fulfilling.

By Monday 20th November, we had collected around 500 carefully decorated and filled shoeboxes. This number surpassed our expectations, leaving us overwhelmed with gratitude. All the boxes were transported to the Senior School in Leidschenveen, where we briefly checked each box before loading them into a collection van from Schoenendoosactie. Finally, it was time for the shoeboxes to begin their long journey across the world, ending in the embrace of a deserving child.

Throughout the winter holidays, we will be thinking of all the children receiving their cherished shoeboxes. For most of these children, this will be their first ever Christmas present, which is a heart-warming thought. Knowing that we have made a difference in 500 children’s lives leaves us with a meaningful sense of accomplishment and joy, and we are so grateful for this opportunity provided by our school and Schoenendoosactie.

Sophie

My name is Sophie and I’m a Year 13 IB student at Senior School Voorschoten. I was involved in the organisation of the shoebox donation project that took place across the 4 BSN campuses, along with 3 other students. We were so grateful for this opportunity to help children in need across the world, and really enjoyed organising this project.  

Morgan

My name is Morgan, and I am a Year 13 IB student at the BSN. Alongside Paula, Sophie and Leda, I had the remarkable opportunity to be involved in the organisation of the shoebox charity project. This was truly a heart-warming experience which turned out to be very successful, and I am grateful to have had this opportunity. 

Paula

My name is Paula and, like my teammates, I am also a Year 13 student at BSN SSV. I speak for all of us when I say that working with Shoenendoosactie has been a highlight of my journey in the Sixth Form. Being able to organise an event with such a moving cause, and seeing our community work together to help those in need has been inspiring; I will always cherish the memories I have made with my teammates!

Leda

My name is Leda and I am a Year 13 IB student at the British School in Voorschoten. Participating in the organisation of our shoebox donation project has become the highlight of my experience at the BSN. The knowledge that our dedicated efforts will bring happiness to numerous less fortunate children during the holiday season brings me immense joy, and I am so proud of myself and my group members.  

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