Atsada (Pun Pun), a High School student at International School Bangkok (ISB), has a deep passion for food security that he has used to sow solutions. It all started during a time of crisis when Thailand was facing severe floods. While many were stacking up on non-perishable foods, Atsada vividly remembers the day his parents brought home a mountain of instant noodles. The fear of subsisting on instant noodles alone ignited a young boy's curiosity about food security, setting him on a path toward making a difference.
Passion to Purpose - ISB Values
He explored this curiosity about food security further during his studies at ISB, and soon enough, his passion developed into purpose. Atsada was introduced to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through the ISB community. He built a strong comprehension of these environmental and global issues through his classes. He then started his own initiatives to solve the issues both inside and outside the walls of the international school. Throughout his journey at International School Bangkok, Atsada has grown and developed to become a student who truly exemplifies these core ISB values: value-driven, globally-minded, self-managing, and creative.
Empowering Leadership Through Service
At ISB, students are taught to have a service-oriented mindset. From working with NGOs such as Second Chance Bangkok or After the Wave to learning deeply about the United Nations’ SDGs, ISB students learn and grow to become globally-minded starting in early Elementary School. Atsada saw the importance of UN SDG number 2: Zero Hunger, which he believes is one of the fundamental goals that needs to be achieved.
Atsada began simply by using his voice and his hands at ISB. Every Saturday, Atsada would attend Middle School Leadership Seminars, where ISB High School students worked with Middle School students to equip them with leadership skills. He enthusiastically participated in every available seminar, embracing leadership roles and learning essential principles for effective and empathetic leadership.
Student-Led Clubs, Conferences, & Campaigns
Atsada’s leadership skills converged with his passion for food security when he founded the Reduction of Food Waste (ROFW) club, dedicated to advocating for food security and sustainability. He initiated campaigns that brought local Thai and ISB students together to raise awareness about food security and educate others about climate change and the environment.
ISB provides opportunities like the ServICE conference, where Atsada shared his experiences as a youth activist and emphasized the importance of sustainability and food security in his keynote speech. ServICE is a national conference for middle and high school students that aims to foster the collaboration of service.
The presentation skills Atsada learned in middle school helped him prepare to be confident and have the courage to speak up on this global issue. “ISB has really prepared me well and offered me the opportunity to interact with people in the real world - to network and share my experiences and inspire others with the same mindset to become changemakers of the world,” Atsada said.
Turning Passion & Purpose into Action
Making use of the abundant resources and facilities at ISB, Atsada transformed his passion into action by developing the Middle School club into the High School ShareTheMeal club, working with the United Nations World Food Programme (UNWFP). His efforts included organizing a successful fun run event and a charity concert, both raising awareness and funds to combat food insecurity and global hunger.
In his freshman year, Atsada organized a charity event called "Run to Share" at ISB in December 2019, attracting 400+ participants and raising 112,000 baht to combat food insecurity with UNWFP. He worked closely with school advisors, staff, and the athletics department to prepare the venue. Later, he hosted a charity concert, "Music for Meals," at the ISB Outdoor Amphitheater, featuring UNWFP guest speakers to inspire ISB students and raise awareness about global hunger.
Fostering Sustainable Change in Communities
Atsada extended his reach beyond ISB by organizing student trips to rural provinces. These trips aimed to address immediate needs by introducing and building community gardens and food banks designed for sustainable food production, fostering a closed-loop system where the waste becomes an input. Atsada and his club members not only built these systems but also designed a curriculum full of hands-on activities and trivia questions to teach younger students about environmental sustainability, making education interactive and fun. Atsada wanted to offer local Thai students what he had experienced at ISB, where students are actively involved in experiments and learn from doing, not only through textbooks.
Cultivating Innovation & Inspiring Youth: Atsada's 'Seed of the Future' Book
Atsada wrote, illustrated, and published his book “Seed of the Future,” which takes readers along Atsada’s personal journey of how an idea can begin as tiny as a seed but grow into a large tree of positive impact. Atsada drew inspiration from his first-grade teacher as she used to read him the book “Not A Box,” which taught Atsada to develop an innovative perspective. So he wrote his own book to help young students develop an innovative mindset and inspire them to value their creative ideas just as his teacher once did.
In pursuit of the "Seed of the Future" mission, Atsada traveled to rural communities and schools, sharing his story to inspire kids throughout Thailand. He also presented his book at the National Book Fair & Bangkok International Book Fair 2023. You can find "Seed of the Future" on Goodreads and purchase it on Shopee, with all proceeds supporting local schools and libraries, increasing education accessibility for all.
Acknowledging ISB's Support
Atsada didn't achieve all of this alone. He recognized the invaluable support he received from ISB teachers, staff, and experiences that contributed to his journey. Their guidance and mentorship, combined with Atsada's drive, helped him become an author and an advocate for change.
The experience of the Nanowrimo writing competition helped Atsada along in his writing journey. He also received guidance from Khun Mj and Mr. Snook in the ISB Art department for illustration and design ideas, while Khun LeAnne advised him on the publishing process and paper selection. Inspired by Khun Sucheera, an ISB IB Thai Teacher who introduced him to diverse Thai literature and writing styles, Atsada made his book bilingual to serve as both a story and a language-learning tool.
Atsada would like to acknowledge and thank the ISB faculty and teachers for providing the resources, opportunities, and support. From a young kid with a small idea, Atsada’s time in the ISB community equipped him with leadership skills, knowledge, and everyday skills that have prepared him to become a caring global citizen.
A Global Impact and Inspiring Message
Atsada’s collective experiences and genuine passion for food security led Atsada to be selected to represent Thailand as the National Youth Delegation of Thailand at the World Food Forum Global Youth Assembly on October 16-20th, 2023, in Rome, Italy, at the United Nations FAO Headquarters on the theme “Food Action Accelerates Climate Action.” Working closely with his ISB High School English teacher, Mr. Andrew Cohen, he prepared a National Statement to address policymakers, international agencies, and governments, aiming to spark a global movement to transform agrifood systems for a better food future for all.
“I’m calling on all youth to not underestimate the little ideas that you have and the impact of our actions. You have the potential to think out of the box and address complex challenges in the world. Just remember the future is in our hands, and it’s up to you to be change-makers of the world. Use the opportunities you have around you, connect, collaborate, and build on your ideas. You may not know it, but the little spark of ideas can turn into something impactful,” said Atsada.
In conclusion, Atsada's journey is an inspiring testament to what can be achieved when a passionate individual is nurtured within the right environment. He implores all youth to embrace their ideas, no matter how small they may seem, and to recognize their potential to make meaningful changes in the world. Atsada's story reminds us that the future is in our hands, and we have the power to be change-makers. So, let's use the opportunities around us, connect, collaborate, and build on our ideas, for those small sparks of inspiration can indeed lead to something impactful.
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Written by Atsada Israpanich in collaboration with ISB Communications