What has a balloon race got to do with the environment?

Every year at the IH Directors' Conference, we host a charity event. This year the event was a virtual balloon race!

The idea was to celebrate important International House anniversaries with our schools. The race started in Brno on May 24th, with balloons flying through cities where IH schools are celebrating significant anniversaries in 2020 and 2021, such as Veracruz, Torres Vedras, Madrid, and more. The event finished on Friday 28th May in Rome, to celebrate IH Rome Accademia Britannica's 60 years of affiliation in 2020. No real balloons were used in this event in line with our environmental commitment to protect our planet... it was all online! 

We had lots of fun tracking balloons throughout the conference at the various IH cities. The winner of the race had to work really hard to stay ahead of its competitors as there were many schools ahead of them for quite a while. On the last day, Eleri Maitland, Director of IH Rouen - French in Normandy won the race with virtual balloon 'MOT2'!

In keeping with IHWO's environmental commitment, the prize for the winning balloon was a £50 donation to an environmental charity of the winner's choice.

The winner of the race, Eleri, commented:

"I loved the idea of the virtual race and had a feeling that Mot (tom) would bring us luck. I wanted to subscribe to something to do with water as this is our first necessity and it is the resource that is so threatened. It is not only important for obvious health reasons but also for children as the people who spend their days carrying dirty water to their homes instead of going to school are children. So the lack of clean, safe water has huge implications and it is something that we all take for granted.

"I would like to have been able to tell you exactly what this money will be used for but I am still waiting to hear from Water Aid – they do a lot with just £2 a month so your prize money, which I have matched, should go a long way. While we are waiting I have donated 50 euros to 0 Megot, 4 young people who have recently just swum up the River Seine to draw attention to the disastrous effect that cigarette ends (mégot) in French have on our water systems and I hope to be able to fund a virtual balloon race in IH Rouen to add to that donation this summer. So please consider that you and IH are all involved in all these initiatives and why not find some water charities near you or subscribe to Water Aid or support these 4 youngsters."

Stay tuned for more environmental actions and suggestions from the IHWO community!