Following the destruction of Tropical Cyclone Ian, the Ha'apai group of islands are in dire need of resources to rebuild their communities. 13 of the 17 primary and secondary schools across this group of islands suffered significant damage from this event and all are in need of resources to replace those that were lost or destroyed.
EcoCARE is responding to this need by collaborating with the Tongan Ministry of Education to identify what items are most needed and collecting these from schools and companies around New Zealand. We would appreciate any member of the public with information on organisations that might be able to donate educational resources for this cause or have the ability to donate items themselves getting in touch with us. Since launching this post-cyclone response project, we have sent 2 containers of educational resources to Ha'apai but much more work needs to be done to make sure our contribution to the re-resourcing of schools in Ha'apai is as significant as possible.
This project builds off our previous work sending educational and medical resources to Tonga. It is our philosophy to seek out what needs exist and respond to this rather than working off preconceived notions of what help is required. The Ha'apai group of islands is deeply in need of re-resourcing, not only in its schools but right throughout the community. Cyclone Ian damaged and destroyed approximately 90% of the homes and infrastructure when it hit in early January. As emergency response aid decreases, there is a need for projects that step in to help with the long-term rebuilding process. EcoCARE currently has the capacity to help get a substantial quantity of resources into schools throughout this island group but only with the help of local people, schools and companies giving what they can afford to donate in order to help those who most need it.
In discussing options with the Ministry of Education in Tonga, EcoCARE has compiled a list of resources which we're able to college, which has then been prioritised by the Director of Education. These prioritised resources are as follows:
- Library resources and reading materials from Year 4 level through to Year 13 level
- Computers no more than five years old
- Sports equipment
- Printer Paper
In addition, the rest of the list was endorsed by the Director of Education and is as follows:
- Exercise books
- Pens and pencils
- Other stationery and equipment (rulers, protractors, calculators, lab equipment etc)
At the end of 2014 we sent a container with 60 computers kindy donated by Christchuirch City Council libraries, 28 monitors, 49 chairs, 33 overhead projectors and 22 DVD and VHS players from Cashmere High School, 30 boxes of books from Darfield High School and 10 sets of maths resources from Riccarton High School. These were received by the Ministry of Education in Tonga and distributed to those most in need.
On the 20th of March 2015 a group of volunteers helped load up a container with 254 desks and 128 chairs. These are due to arrive in Tonga on the 5th of April and will be sent to help re-resource schools in Ha'apai. We are still seeking further resources from the list above for a shipment being sent around mid-year 2015. Please go through the contact page if you can help or can put us in touch with anyone else who could.