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Waiariki to Sponsor Training for Tsunami Victims

Tuesday, March 1 2005

Waiariki to Sponsor Training for Thai Tsunami Victims

Thai students have been given a chance to support the rebuilding process thanks to a scholarship initiative by Waiariki Institute of Technology. Waiariki CEO invites other organisations to contribute to allow more students to come to Rotorua to join in this training.

Four students from the devastated city of Phuket will be offered scholarships to study for 2 months at Waiariki Institute of Technology. The students will be selected to act as leaders in the rebuilding process and will study tourism or construction.

These two areas were identified by Waiariki as being crucial in the rebuilding of the city's economy and lives.

Dr Reynold Macpherson, Chief Executive Officer is hoping Waiariki can sponsor as many students as possible and says with additional support from the community this would be possible. "We warmly invite other organisations to join us in this initiative. Each $4,500 will enable another student to come," says Dr Macpherson.

Waiariki Council Chair, Deryck Shaw, says the Institute is very positive about the need to provide long-term assistance to the region.

"Council is strongly supportive of this initiative. All funds will be raised locally. Fees will be waived by our Institution with no cost to government and students. Scholarships will be carefully targeted to maximise the impact students will have on their return."

The scholarship funds will cover airfares, accommodation and living expenses for each of the recipients.

The idea to offer a tsunami rebuilding scholarship came from Waiariki's Head of Tourism and Hospitality, Dr Chris Asby. Dr Asby was deeply affected by the images of devastation in the media and felt Waiariki could provide a valuable in put to the rebuilding process.

"I have seen a lot of places being hit hard by natural and man-made disasters, and seeing the images on the TV and press, I felt we should do something to support reconstruction."

Aron Andrus, Head of English at Wimol College, has been overwhelmed by Waiariki's offer of support in the rebuilding process and indicates it will provide tremendous moral support to Phuket.

"This is a great opportunity that Waiariki is offering to help with the tsunami crisis in Phuket, the tourism industry has taken a hard hit. In a normally busy tourist season, there are no tourists at all."

Students will be nominated for scholarships by Wimol College. Mr Andrus points out that students will be selected based on their individual needs in particular students who have been deeply impacted and who would benefit greatly from the sponsorship will be targeted.

"We have one very sad case with a student whom lost both mother and father, and studies in our hotel and hospitality curriculum. This is one of the students that we would consider for such a scholarship."

Business and private donations will be added to the scholarship fund which has already raised $9,000. Those able to provide support can contact Glenda Brighouse at Waiariki on 07 346 8662.

ENDS

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