While studying remotely at home in Casablanca, Morocco, Sara, a Diploma Programme (DP) student at Haileybury School in the UK decided to do something to help her community protect itself from COVID-19 (Coronavirus) for her creativity, activity, service (CAS) project.
“I had been working on my chemistry extended essay (EE) and through that, I learned so much about research and gained an appreciation for chemistry. Through the COVID-19 pandemic, I learned a lot about how important resources were needed in this crisis. I thought about hand sanitizer and wondered if I could make it at home”, she explains.
“Casablanca requires establishments to carry hand sanitizers and I realized that this could be expensive in combination with all the other things that needed to be implemented so I thought I could help”, she adds.
Sara found the instructions for hand sanitizer on the World Health Organization (WHO) website and sourced the ingredients (ethanol 96%, distilled water, hydrogen peroxide and glycerin). “I already had the equipment from my chemistry EE that I got from a laboratory, but the real challenge was getting the ingredients”, she says.
“I really care and empathize with everyone that has had to struggle during this outbreak”.
Supervised by her parents, Sara prepared the sanitizer in small batches. She wore a face mask, gloves, goggles and a lab coat to make sure everything was safe. “My parents helped me get all the measurements correct as they have experience with this. I made sure I had all the windows and doors open throughout and didn’t store the liquids in my home. I made the hand sanitizer the day I got the alcohol and other liquids”, she explains.
Sara also made a video tutorial, which she has shared on YouTube. “I have received a lot of love from everyone who has seen the video and many people tell me they have been inspired by it and will also try to help in their own way”, she says.
She has distributed five bottles of five-litre sanitizer to orphanages and care homes across the city. Doing the project has taught her a lot. “I displayed inquiry through the research process and through the making of the hand sanitizer as I really wanted to make sure that I was doing everything correctly. I really care and empathize with everyone that has had to struggle during this outbreak and all of the health care professionals who have sacrificed so much for the world”, she says.
It has prompted me to help other students with science-related CAS projects next year. “I believe this project has opened up a new world for me. I have become the ScienceXCAS coordinator, which means that I will promote scientific projects in my community and also on a YouTube channel with tutorials like this one”. In the future, she plans to study medicine to help others and try to impact the world in a positive way.
Giovanna Iorio, CAS coordinator at Haileybury School, says: “Sara embraced CAS and she has proved to be a caring person engaged in a global pandemic in first person. She was a real risk-taker, she explored new ideas and innovative strategies. She was resourceful and resilient in the face of challenges and change”.
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