Grade 3 Swiss International School Dubai Student cut her hair to make wigs for other children with cancer
Aurelia shaves her teacher's head

Teacher had his head shaved in class in support of student fundraising

Aurelia Reeves a Grade 3 pupil (age 9) at Al Jadaf-based IB School, Swiss International School Dubai, decided to mark the anniversary of her stem cell transplant by donating her hair to the Little Princess Trust, helping other young people with cancer. Aurelia, who was diagnosed with Hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH) when she was just 4 months old, survived, but part of her treatment involved receiving over 50 litres of blood donations prior to a stem cell transplant from an unrelated donor.  

The thoughtful youngster decided to grow her hair as long as possible – as long-haired wigs are most in demand – before having it cut off, while raising sponsorship money for the act.

Her friends and family have so far managed to donate EUR1600 (Dhs6,700), and she hopes to raise EUR2000 (Dhs8,300) for her charitable anniversary act. 

And when teacher, Mr Mark Swaine heard about Aurelia’s brave fundraising mission, he decided to join in, letting the 9 year old pupil shave his head in front of all her classmates! 

Aurelia says she is keen to make a difference, and ensure she radiates positivity as a result of her personal experiences with cancer and stem cell transplantation. 

She says: “I am so excited that I have been able to have this opportunity to increase the awareness and importance of stem cell donations. It saved my life, literally, and I will forever be grateful for that. I would love for residents of the UAE to be able to register as donors to take part.

“I am really enjoying my new short hair and everyone is saying how nice it looks!”

Samantha Hodges, Wellbeing Co-ordinator and Primary Deputy at SISD, adds: “Aurelia’s story has inspired us all at SISD. She is a credit to our school and her passion for charitable causes – including animal welfare and environmental issues – is infectious. Aurelia is the epitome of what it means to be a Global Citizen. We are so proud of her.”

Swiss International School Dubai aims to arm pupils with the knowledge, skills and confidence to approach adult life as truly global citizens, through its IB curriculum and multi-lingual teaching approach, and Aurelia epitomises the positivity, strength and humility SISD pupils are all encouraged to develop. 


Swiss International School in Dubai 

Global in outlook, bilingual in approach, Swiss in culture, and yet firmly rooted in the local community of Dubai – that’s Swiss International School in Dubai, or SISD. 

The Swiss International Scientific School in Dubai (SISD), Dubai’s first bilingual International Baccalaureate School, opened in 2015, and is the largest Swiss school outside Switzerland.

The school is a leading international day and boarding school where future generations are inspired to become confident and enthusiastic lifelong learners, properly prepared to embrace all the opportunities and challenges life presents.

With a diverse student body of 1450 pupils comprising more than 75 different nationalities, the school believes the next generation of international citizens will need to be dynamic, flexible and linguistically ambitious. With this in mind, SISD offers immersive bilingual programmes in either of the Swiss languages of French and German, but also a strong English programme with foreign languages. For students who don’t wish to pursue a fully bilingual programme, there is a unique STEAM programme for all children from age 4-11 years. SISD stands out as one of only a handful of educational establishments globally classified as an IB Continuum school, which means it offers International Baccalaureate education to pupils from age 3 to 18. 

Offering day school, weekly or full-term boarding options, this leading educational institution offers state-of-the-art STEAM education, and has world-class sporting facilities, too. 

The school has laid out its B.E.S.T. Values, as follows:


A unique international and multilingual environment provides students with authentic exposure to English, French, German and Arabic. Students in the immersive bilingual programmes learn to communicate, think and reflect in two different languages. As global citizens, SISD celebrates diversity, promoting all languages and cultures with equal respect.


SISD staff believes in maintaining high standards and aspire to be the best they can be. A spirit of enquiry, encouraging both creative and critical thinking is fostered.


Students and staff believe that social, cultural, economic and environmental awareness prepare us to play our part in shaping a better future, both for ourselves and for those around us. The school campus is eco-friendly, winning international acclaim and awards for using less energy to create a comfortable and healthy environment.


In the school’s international community, we know that we are at our best when we all work together. We view active participation in the community, from the most local to the most global, as the foundation of a valuable life.


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