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Auckland children raise $10,000 for Samoan schools

And with the PR as text below:

Media Release

Auckland children raise $10,000 for tsunami-hit Samoan pre-schools

Wellington, 18 December 2009. – Up to 9,000 children at more than 100 kindergartens across Auckland have donated their pocket money to UNICEF for tsunami-damaged pre-schools in Samoa.

The 29 September tsunami that struck Samoa took a particularly heavy toll on the island’s youngest citizens. Twenty young children were killed, with six pre-schools destroyed or damaged. Some 322 children and 24 teachers were left without any school to go to.

UNICEF, the Auckland Kindergarten Association and 9,000 Auckland children teamed up to help return affected Samoan children back to normality as quickly as possible.

Auckland Kindergarten Association Marketing Executive, Liz Soma, says that she was blown away by the huge response.

“When we mentioned the idea of fundraising for Samoa, all 110 kindergartens and early learning centres in the association took up the call. There was just a huge out-pouring of support.

“Everyone was really into doing something to help. Over a week children brought along their pocket money and spare change, pasting the coins onto paper or laying them on the ground in heart-shape lines.

“Some wrote messages such as ‘Hope you’re OK’ and ‘Dear Samoa, hope you have a good life’.

“Teachers also took the opportunity to teach children about tsunamis, their impact on people the community, and why donating money would help.”

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UNICEF NZ Executive Director, Dennis McKinlay, says that the Auckland children did an amazing job to raise such a large sum.

“It’s a real case of children helping children.

“The $10,000 they raised will be used to provide play equipment at the four schools that were completely destroyed by the tsunami. They lost absolutely everything, so this is just the start of the rebuilding process.”

Mr McKinlay says that UNICEF is working closely with the National Council of Early Childhood Education for Samoa on rehabilitation of the destroyed and damaged pre-schools. The National Council had identified play equipment as one of the most pressing needs.

“After the trauma of a disaster like the tsunami that hit Samoa, it is vital to help children return to normal routines and activities as soon as possible. One of the best ways to encourage children to recover and relax is through play.

“The children’s donation will buy enough play equipment for four pre-schools, including double swings, see-saws and monkey climbs.”

Mr McKinlay says the National Council is still working on where pre-schools will be rebuilt. The play equipment will be set up on temporary site in the meantime and be moved to a new site when rebuilding is completed.

UNICEF’s post-tsunami humanitarian relief effort in Samoa covered the key areas of education, child protection, health and nutrition, and water, sanitation and hygiene.


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