Osaka YMCA
International School

OYIS Wins Major International Award


OYIS Wins Major International Award

At OYIS, we don’t just teach students about academic subjects. We also want students to understand real-world issues. That’s why we launched a whole-school project to support a local food bank. We were pleased to help such a good cause, and we were especially pleased when this initiative recently won a major international award.

OYIS was one of the winners in ISC Research’s International School Awards – and the only school in Japan to be honoured in this year’s competition. The winning project focused on urban gardening and was run in conjunction with the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan (ACCJ). At first, raised garden beds were created and teachers showed our youngest students how to grow vegetables. Older students joined in to collect the produce and other donated items. They then contacted Kansai Food Bank themselves to arrange delivery. To make sure this was a truly whole-school project, OYIS asked parents to bring canned food rather than pay an entry fee to several big school events – and these items were donated to the food bank.

OYIS also held a large community event to let everyone know how easy it is to grow your own vegetables through composting. During the event, a Grade 7 student presented a video on his home-composting project, students grabbed shovels to move ten tonnes of donated compost to help the vegetable gardens and one of our teachers led a demonstration on building raised planter beds. Our IB Music students also performed and raised more than US$300 in donations.

Due to the success of the scheme, the ACCJ has been able to work with other international schools in the area to help them launch similar initiatives, meaning this will be a truly sustainable and worthwhile project for the local community.

The aim of the initiative was to create a whole-school project that involved several age groups at various stages of the process. This linked closely with our school mission (and the IB mission) of ‘empowering students to achieve personal success while compassionately contributing to their local communities’.

Through this project, younger students have learned about seasonal vegetables and some basic gardening techniques, while older students have improved their communication and organisational skills by liaising with the food bank directly and working out the logistics necessary to transfer the goods.

The initiative helps intercultural understanding because our 340 students come from 34 countries and therefore may not be fully aware of issues affecting Japanese society.

Through this project OYIS was able to explain the reasons for homelessness and poverty in different countries. The project enabled the school to give a real-world context to this problem and also, importantly, look at solutions that students could be directly involved in.

By doing this, we felt students could engage in a meaningful, impactful and sustainable way to meet some of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The ISC school awards recognise projects that are linked to these SDGs and also support Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice (DEIJ) issues. This particular initiative focused mainly on SDG 2: Zero Hunger. This goal seeks to end poverty by 2030 by ‘promoting sustainable agriculture’ and making sure all people – especially children – have sufficient and nutritious food all year.’

OYIS was a winner in category A, which is for schools that offer great value by offering tuition fees below the average for their country.

The school’s work to help the food bank is still ongoing. We recently had a drive to collect miso soup and some Grade 12 students will soon be delivering this to those in need.

ISC Research is the leading provider of English-medium K-12 international school data, trends and intelligence. It has been collecting market intelligence and data on international schools throughout the world since 1994.
Winners of its annual school awards are chosen by an independent panel of 10 international education experts.
For more, visit

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