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Student Volunteer Army resumes pre-quake voluntary duties

Student Volunteer Army resumes pre-quake voluntary duties

After up-scaling dramatically to cope with the demand following the 22 February Earthquake, the SVA will now resume its pre-quake status as a club affiliated to the University of Canterbury Students’ Association.

SVA founder Sam Johnson, said he and the committee that ran both the September and February earthquake clean-ups are committed to fostering and supporting en masse volunteering in our communities. He said they will soon call for proposals for new volunteer projects, information about how you can make a proposal will be posted on www.sva.org.nz.

“The SVA was started by a small dream, and we want to help make other small dreams come true,” said Sam Johnson. “The idea is to allow other students, members of the community, and organisations a chance to have their idea heard and organised with the support and guidance of the SVA team.”

Sam Johnson said he and the committee behind the SVA want to thank the thousands of students who selflessly gave up their time for Christchurch.

14,285 volunteers (this is the aggregate number of volunteers who volunteered, not the number of individual people volunteering each day). On average they worked a 5 hour day – 14,285 multiplied by 5hrs equals 71,425 working hours. At $15 per hour that is an astonishing $1,071,375 worth of labour.

It is estimated that 80% of the volunteers were students from the University of Canterbury, the remainder were community members, high school students, CPIT students and Lincoln University students.

The Student Volunteer Army volunteers helped:
• remove 360,000 tonnes of silt.
• deliver 21,000 chemical toilets.
• delivered over 500,000 information pamphlets to residents.
• lay sandbags alongside the banks of the Avon River due to concerns about high tides.

Sam Johnson said following the September earthquake the SVA was very successful, but on a much smaller scale. “This time we were able to assist many more people thanks to the structure we had in place, and the support and guidance received from the White Elephant Trust and the Te Wai Pounamu Foundation Trust. In particular we want to sincerely thank Louis Brown, Nathan Durkin, and Anthony Rohan for their help. The wealth of experience and knowledge their organisations brought to our project was instrumental in our joint success in helping bring a sense of normality back to the streets of Christchurch. As we move forward, the SVA and the trusts resume our roles as separate organisations but we look forward to working collaboratively in the future,” he said.

Together, this support and the generous donations and Government funding we received were integral to the SVA’s success. Sam Johnson said for the meantime they’re holding the unspent donations in a registered Trust and have stockpiled the shovels, wheel barrows and other equipment just in case. “Once the risk of major aftershocks has diminished we’ll work with those organisations which made donations to redistribute the money to other quake relief funds or refund it.”

Please find attached a table outlining the timeline of work carried out, the numbers of students involved and the type of work carried out.


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