Beyond Giving: The NIST Microcredit Bank

Poverty and the cycle it perpetuates through generations represent an age-old problem that many view as a constant in life. A group of students and teachers at NIST don’t believe that a solution is so unfathomable, and they are tackling the issue head-on through the NIST Microcredit Bank (NMB). Created as a student-run service group with the aim of supporting all members of the NIST community, the NMB offers debt relief, business loans and scholarships for the children of the school’s support staff.

Based on the work of Mohammed Yunus, winner of a Nobel Peace Prize for his pioneering work in microfinance, the NMB initially focused on providing small business loans with very little interest to support staff at NIST who sought to open their own businesses. This focus gradually shifted to providing education-based debt relief through scholarships for the children of those staff members, aligning to NIST’s belief in the transformative power of learning, and contemporary research in sustainable economic and social development through education as opposed to simple philanthropy.

Though basic schooling for all children in Thailand is free in principle, extraneous costs even in small public schools put it out of reach of thousands of families, particularly those with multiple children. In the words of the microcredit bank members, “It is unacceptable to be students of an academic institution that permits those who support our education to struggle to afford an education for their own”. They view caring for all members of the NIST community as a fundamental responsibility, one that will ultimately allow families to be enriched through education.

2016 is the fourth year that the NMB has provided scholarships to children of support staff, and also represents the largest number granted thus far: 33 in total. The benefits of these scholarships greatly help to alleviate the burden of the costs associated with schooling in Thailand, enabling families to afford the best education they can provide without the financial sacrifice that usually comes with it.

Driven by the success of their work, the NMB continually seeks to raise funds through various school events and regularly receives donations from NIST staff, the NIST Parent-Teacher Association (NIPTA), parent groups, student-run groups and the student body itself. More importantly, the students recognize that monetary donations ultimately have a limited scope. The group meets weekly to find ways to connect and bring the focus back to the community and their role in its continued growth.

Looking to the future, the microcredit bank is continually looking to improve and identify ways to further engage staff, students and parents. In the meantime they aim to enrich the lives and livelihoods of all members of the NIST community through their unique work, which represents a first among international schools in Thailand. Head of School James MacDonald captured this passion best as he spoke to this year’s scholarship recipients: “Even though you may attend other schools, NIST is also your school, and you are an important part of the community here”.

Nepal RISE: Earthquake Relief Campaign

Donate to the Nepal RISE campaign online.


With the current humanitarian crisis in Nepal, we know that many are eager to help and are actively searching for effective outlets to channel their support. NIST International School and the JUMP! Foundation are partnering in the launch of Nepal RISE, a global effort to increase awareness, generate support, and raise funds for the communities and people affected by earthquake in Nepal.

Nepal RISE is a global movement, with events happening in Bangkok, Beijing, Hong Kong and hopefully other locations. The goal of the initiative is to raise USD $100,000 that will go directly to the International Medical Corps (IMC), which is currently working on the ground in Nepal.

Nepal RISE – Bangkok will have three components:

  1. 4 May: Nepal Information Evening at NIST International School – Please RSVP Here
  2. 5 – 16 May: Community-hosted events throughout Bangkok in support of the Nepal Earthquake Relief
  3. 17 May: Nepal RISE Benefit Concert at NIST International School – Please RSVP Here

 

Nepal Information Evening (Monday, 4 May)

This Monday, 4 May from 6:30 – 8:30 PM, Nepal RISE will launch with a community information meeting here at NIST International School. This is an opportunity to learn more about the needs of Nepal in the short, medium, and long term, as well how the international community can rally our support appropriately and sustainably. This meeting will also feature a live video call from IMC staff on the ground in Nepal, to receive accurate real-time information about their current needs.

Bangkok Community Events (5 – 16 May)

From 5-16 May Bangkok community members will host a variety of awareness events to support the Nepal Earthquake Response. Please post event information to the Nepal RISE Facebook page.

Nepal RISE Benefit Concert (Sunday, 17 May)

On Sunday, 17 May Nepal RISE will culminate in a fundraising event: a benefit concert with live music, delicious food provided by various Bangkok restaurants, raffles, and speakers. Donations will be accepted at the entrance, 100% of which will go to IMC’s relief efforts in Nepal. A percentage of profits from food vendors will also be donated.


Want to be involved?

We’re looking for people to help in the following ways:

  • Musicians to perform at the benefit concert on Sunday, 17 May
  • Food vendors to set up stalls at the benefit concert on Sunday, 17 May
  • Volunteer event staff at the benefit concert on Sunday, 17 May
  • Items for raffle prizes
  • Items for the silent auction

If you are able to support with any of the above items, email us at NepalRise@jumpfoundation.org. For more updates on events in Bangkok or globally, and to share your own events, please visit our Facebook page.


 

Donate to the Nepal RISE campaign online.