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Purple Cake Day attracts overseas “thumbs up”

18 February 2012
Media Release
Purple Cake Day attracts overseas “thumbs up”

Schools, pre-schools and communities from Nepal to California and throughout New Zealand will celebrate Purple Cake Day on 1 March this year, giving a big “thumbs up” to the two year old New Zealand-based children’s charity.

Purple Cake Day, established by Nelson woman Emily Sanson-Rejouis following the loss of her husband and two of her pre-school daughters in the Haiti earthquake in 2010, has been approached by schools internationally who want to make the celebration a part of their annual calendar. Ms Sanson-Rejouis says “I am honoured, humbled and inspired that people are supporting Purple Cake Day in schools and communities around the world. We received great support locally, nationally and internationally in our first year, but this year it’s even more substantial. We’ve moved from one individual in 10 countries celebrating last year to as many as 11 schools within a country supporting us.”

In Hong Kong, Woodland Pre-School Deputy General Manager Michel Sealy says “Purple Cake Day brings with it a fabulously fun element. Our ten schools will be going ‘all out’ by having everyone dress in purple, decorating the schools with purple balloons and bunting, eating purple snacks, and sending home purple envelopes to collect the many donations we anticipate receiving.”

Purple Cake Day works with established and experienced project partners and Ms Sanson-Rejouis says this has also been beneficial in spreading the word. Current project partners are the Hillary Himalayan Trust, In Time Trust and First Steps Himalaya, all in Nepal, and the Children of Haiti Project in Haiti.

First Steps Himalaya’s New Zealand founder Fionna Heiton is in Nepal and her small team has organised a large Mad Hatter's Tea Party at an up-market hotel, plus an art competition for rural Nepalese children to enter.

Another of Purple Cake Day’s attractions is the comprehensive Resource Kit, endorsed by New Zealand Teachers Council Chair Alison McAlpine, and packed with ideas and information about the country in focus. Downloads of the kit already number 1054, more than three times last year’s total, with downloaders in 14 countries. In New Jersey, USA, Brigantine Elementary school teacher Teri Graag says the kit’s a real asset to a busy teacher. She only recently learnt about Purple Cake Day from the Nelson teacher and class she skypes weekly. Now she has big plans underway for a celebration. And Purple Cake Day’s ambassador in San Luis Obispo, California, Kim Lisagor is attracting sponsors, rallying volunteers, and coordinating activity that includes ten local elementary schools with YMCA afterschool programmes celebrating Purple Cake Day with games, art projects, and cake sales.

Nationally Purple Cake Day is also widening its reach, with Samuel Marsden Collegiate School in Wellington planning a Purple Cake Day activity for each term. In Auckland, Verran Primary School will hold a wearable art day. And in Nelson, where the event was widely celebrated in 2011, there is again significant school and community involvement. Some retailers are going purple for the whole week.

Social media has also played a part in the charity’s growth. Facebook has been key to raising awareness, with supporters posting photos of their own glammed up “thumbs up”, decorated in support of Purple Cake Day and with a view to helping children around the world get better access to quality education.

© Scoop Media

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