Over the weekend of 14-15th March 2015 a Category 5 cyclone cut a path of devastation across the Pacific, with the island nation of Vanuatu experiencing some of the worst damage from this massive storm.
St Andrew’s College has a strong relationship with Onesua Presbyterian College located on the north-eastern side of the main island of Efate, having sent annual Community Service trips there for over a decade. Onesua is a boarding school with around 350 students and suffered extensive damage from the storm:
With the 2015 Community Service Trip to Onesua College scheduled to depart in the first week of the Term 1 holiday break, the timing of this Cyclone resulted in the cancellation of this trip. The leadership team at St Andrew’s College reached out to Onesua immediately to see where we could help and heard from their Principal, Mr Kalmar a week after the storm:
Onesua is badly hid by the cyclone, a lot of classrooms lost their roofs and also staff houses. My office and house roof also flew away. The students are all out of school. Water and food will be a problem. I thank God that not even a single soul was lost during the cyclone at Onesua. We were all safe.
At the moment the school is out of telephone and internet services. I am emailing from Port Vila.
We immediately explored how we could channel existing fundraising approaches to help our sister school in Vanuatu.
We setup an online donation option through our existing ticketing and donation platform from PatronBase.com which allowed our community members to make a credit card payment directly to the funds being collected for Onesua:
Online Ticket Sale Top-ups:
St Andrew’s has been selling tickets to College events online for 12 months now, and currently both the Senior Production (Urinetown – The Musical) and Style At StAC have tickets selling fast. We were able to include the opportunity for our community to “top up” their ticket payment with a donation for Onesua College:
Mufti Day & Disco:
More traditional approaches to fundraising were also undertaken which included:
- A mufti-day where students in the Secondary School could come in tidy non-uniform attire. For this event, the College encouraged students to go beyond the usual gold coin donation, and instead gift “folding money” towards Onesua College.
- Preparatory School Disco. This is the annual fundraiser organised and run by the students going on the annual Community Service Trip, and aimed at students in Years 4-8 to attend a tropical themed disco.
- Collection raised at the Middle School Chapel service
Total Donations So Far:
By combining both new and old ways of collecting donations, particularly with the ease of online credit card payments, we have been able to reach a wider section of our College community who have been incredibly generous. Today, St Andrew’s College was able to transfer NZD$10,000 to Onesua Presbyterian College to help them rebuild their damaged school and replace their destroyed teaching resources.
With a number of remaining smaller fund raising activities running into Term 2, there will be a second payment of the remaining funds raised gifted to Onesua.
A huge thank you to our entire community for contributing so generously. In his latest email Mr Aldo, Principal of Onesua, said:
Thank you very much for this much needed support. I thank God that Onesua has build a relationship with STAC.
The Onesua community has set up a working group consisting of teachers and ancillary staff and carrying out rapid response operations in the college.
This means that they are putting up temporary classrooms and staff houses and dorms to gather for the classes next week. We are all eager to begin classes though we lost a lot of materials.
We will start with what we have available hoping that support will definitely come. Please thank all your community for your support sincerely.