It just clicked: Bandaged Bear the perfect fit for OneSchool

30 Mar 2021

Students at OneSchool Global (Sydney Campus) loved raising funds for sick kids in the 2021 Bandaged Bear Appeal – and many had unexpected moments.

Not only did OneSchool Global in Oatlands raise more than predicted for the Bandaged Bear Appeal this year, but organiser Afshan Valani says many students rediscovered a personal connection to The Children’s Hospital at Westmead.

“During our Bandaged Bear fundraiser, I was just bombarded with stories from my students who realised they had received care at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead, or had a sibling, cousin or friend treated there,” says Afshan.

“It was a powerful moment for our kids to realise they had been there, had seen it up-close – and that they were a part of it.”

Wednesdays for Westmead

This was the first time a Bandaged Bear fundraiser had been held at the Sydney campus of the international academy OneSchool. Afshan wanted to find a fun and relatively simple way for students, teachers and parents to help the Hospital. Her plan was a series of festive fundraising days held over three weeks, called Wednesdays for Westmead.

On the first two Wednesdays, students and teachers were invited to wear their most crazy colourful socks to school and donate a gold coin for the Appeal. The yummy finale on the third Wednesday for Westmead was a hot breakfast, prepared by school leaders for the whole school community, with all profits to the Appeal.

Everyone got on board and Afshan says promoting Wednesdays for Westmead through school newsletters and emails really helped the school community understand what their support could achieve. She also shared with them the emotional yet uplifting story of Durakai, the young boy from the Bandaged Bear Appeal, who spent over 60 days in Hospital away from loved ones.

“I felt really passionate about the Bandaged Bear Appeal, and that rubbed off on the kids,” she says. “They then went home excited to talk to their parents and friends about it, which inspired people at a deep level to support the Appeal.”

“My students got really involved.”

To make their fundraising extra fun, Afshan ordered cute merchandise from the Bandaged Bear team, which arrived swiftly at the school.

Before class, and at recess and lunch on Wednesdays for Westmead, Afshan and her students held a stall in the school library. Kids flocked to buy fluffy bears, rulers, socks, bear key rings and pens, with all funds going to equipment, research and The Children’s Hospital at Westmead.

“I just could not have done this without my students,” says Afshan. “From the moment I said the words ‘Let’s hold a Bandaged Bear event’, the wonderful student team jumped on board.”

“We could double our donation.”

Afshan was overjoyed when by the end of the first Wednesday at Westmead, the school of just 122 students had reached their $1,000 fundraising target! With their enthusiasm ignited, Afshan was confident to double OneSchool’s target to $2,000. It was such a great feeling for students and teachers; knowing they could do even more to help the team at Westmead.

Afshan was also so grateful to Alison Brookes (Head of primary at OneSchool Global) to have supported this idea. She worked tirelessly to ensure the fundraiser ran smoothly as well as conducted the meetings with the student leadership team to organise the breakfast to raise even more funds for this fabulous cause.

“One person can make a difference, but working together and raising funds as a school, the impact can be huge,” she says.

A teacher’s advice for schools

Afshan highly recommends schools hold a fundraiser to help sick kids. At her school, it’s now clear it’s a cause that students truly connect with. Participation has also reinforced school values like care for others and citizenship.

“I always say to my students ‘If they want to be anything in life, decide to be kind’, says Afshan. “Bandaged Bear is a chance for them to practice kindness towards kids who are just like them.

“I really encourage all schools to support the Bandaged Bear Appeal in 2021.”